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Your weekend weather

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Frozen pipes. Snowbanks the size of aircraft carriers lining your driveway. And people driven to the brink of madness by the never-ending deep-freeze threatening to stuff pineapples down your windpipe as you stand in line at the checkout aisle of your local grocery store.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to spring in Winnipeg.

While the astronomical spring -- the vernal equinox, shuffled into the city on Thursday -- the meteorological spring and its warmer temperatures and gentle breezes is being held prisoner by (cue eerie music) THE POLAR VORTEX!

Sorry about all the capital letters, but we were trying to make a point, namely that we should be enjoying daily highs of 1 C at this time of year. Instead we are looking at way below normal highs of just -13 C on Saturday and -11 C on Sunday. On the upside, there's no snow in the outlook at the moment.

What's the problem? Well, according to my dear friend Dale Marciski at Environment Canada: "It's another one of those Arctic high-pressure systems coming down from the northwest. We've had a lot of those this winter.

"It's going to give us sunshine, but because the air is coming from the northwest, it's quite cold. We'll probably see wind chills in the -30s, especially in the morning Saturday, then a repeat on Sunday. It's just the same old pattern we've seen many times before.

"It looks like it eases up during the week and we should start to warm up a bit. Now that spring is here, the sun gets a wee bit more powerful each day... but for the weekend it's still winter coats and tuques."

If you can hang on until Thursday, we'll be basking in a high of 0 C, which will feel like a vacation at Club Med.

As Dale pointed out, we probably shouldn't complain because it was (bad word) cold at this time last year.

On this date in 2012, however, the temperature was a record-high 22 C and there wasn't a lick of snow to be found.

On this day last year, the high was -5 C and we had 54 centimetres of snow on the ground, which is a tad more than the 47 cm we had parked in our yards as of Friday morning.

If you can't wait for real spring temperatures, head down to the conservatory in Assiniboine Park this weekend for the annual Manitoba Orchid Society orchid show and sale, which is where Creepy Santa, my three-foot-tall stuffed Santa doll, and I went Friday morning to shoot our weekend weather video.

Show organizer Wendy Chaytor told us you can escape these brutal temperatures by checking out the "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of multicoloured orchids on display.

Admission is $7 and kids under 14 are free.

"You have to come, because it's a breath of fresh air," is how Wendy put it Friday as dozens of orchid fanatics ogled the stunning flowers. "The orchids are every colour of the rainbow. It's a tropical paradise. You're going to be warmed, and you're going to be wowed."

If you are craving something even more exotic than orchids -- hey, we don't judge here at Weather Central -- you might want to slip into something more comfortable (cough) and sashay over to the convention centre for the annual Taboo Naughty But Nice Show, which provides "an upscale adult playground dedicated to enhancing lifestyles, encouraging romance, personal betterment" and, well, you get the general thrust of our gist.

We're talking seminars, shopping, fashion shows, live demonstrations and so on and so forth.

Tickets are $17 at the door, but only $12 online at www.tabooshow.com.

Deep thinkers will want to exercise their brains at the Spur Festival, a four-day celebration of politics, art, ideas and change. Events are being held at various venues, including the Free Press News Café. Visit spurfestival.ca or call 204-262-1993 for more info. Tickets are $10 to $25. It will help keep your head warm.

Looking for a more hands-on experience? Head to University Centre at the University of Manitoba from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today for Handemonium: Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament. Admission is $20, which we assume is a paper $20.

On the other hand, you could just lie in bed waiting for spring (the real one) to show up. It's definitely coming "eventually," according to my pal, Dale, "just not this weekend."

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2014 A2

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