Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The Weather Column

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Damn you, Alberta!

Forgive us for starting your weekend weather forecast with such salty language, but we are in a fit of pique, which is never a good thing.

The problem is, after basking in above-normal fall temperatures, we are about to get socked in the kisser -- BLAMMO! -- by a (bad word) Alberta Clipper, a low-pressure system forming in northern Alberta that is going to bring us a taste of (another very bad word) winter.

"If we're going to talk weather, we're going to talk about how it's cooling off this weekend," warned my buddy Dale Marciski from Environment Canada. "Plus the dreaded S-word is in the forecast, especially in western Manitoba along the Saskatchewan border and in the Riding Mountains and the Turtle Mountains."

Thanks to the Alberta Clipper, we're looking at a mix of sun and clouds today with a chilly high of just 5C, compared to the normal high of 9C at this time of year. On Sunday, we're talking a bone-chilling high of just 2C along with some sno... some sn... OK, I'll let Dale explain.

"Winnipeg has a 40 per cent chance of flurries or showers mostly Saturday night into Sunday morning," Dale warned Friday. "But it won't be snow that accumulates on the ground. It doesn't look like large amounts here, but there's a potential for it to look white as you move west."

The good thing about Alberta Clippers, Dale says, is they tend to move quickly so they typically don't result in large buildups of sno ... of sn ...

If you hope to survive this foretaste of winter, I urge everyone to head down to centre court at The Forks today and Sunday for the 22nd annual International Wine Festival of Manitoba, featuring fermented grapes from over 250 wineries from around the world, along with a huge selection of gourmet cheeses and live music. Admission is free and tasting tickets are just 50 cents. The proceeds go to help our friends at Winnipeg Harvest.

With the weather turning colder, the holidays can't be far off, so get some early gift shopping in at the annual Scattered Seeds Christmas Craft Show & Sale today and Sunday at Red River Exhibition Park. Tickets are just $6. If you find a knit sweater with snowmen on it, I take a double XL.

And for those of you who love creatures that look like waddling sandbags with red eyes, long ears and voracious appetites, the 2013 Manitoba Basset Hound Walk takes place Sunday from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at Kilcona Park. There'll be a basset agility course, a silent auction and contests for the best-dressed hound and the mutt with the longest ears. This is a can't-miss event for people who enjoy being coated in a thick layer of hardened drool.

Whatever you do, don't let cooler weather and the threat of you-know-what get you down, Winnipeg. Just zip up your parka, slap on your tuque -- and then call your relatives in Alberta and tell them they won't be getting a Christmas card this year!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2013 A2

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