Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Very dry weather continues.. Winnipeg closing in on top 5 dry spells of all time

The dry weather of the past 2 months continues into May, with no measurable precipitation recorded so far in the month. In fact, as of May 9th, Winnipeg has gone 27 consecutive days without any measurable precipitation. The last day with measurable precipitation in Winnipeg was on April 12th when 1.2 mm of melted snow was recorded at the airport. (measurable precipitation is defined as a day with 0.2 mm or more of melted precipitation (rain or snow)  With no significant precipitation expected through May 15th, this current dry spell may enter the record books as one of the top 5 longest dry spells in Winnipeg since records began in 1872. The chart above shows the top 5 longest dry spells in the city, the longest being 47 days without measurable precipitation in the fall of 1976. The longest dry spell in the spring (which is a more serious time for dry weather) was in 1980 when Winnipeg went 40 straight days without measurable precipitation.  How long this current dry spell will last is difficult to say at this point.. but increasingly it looks like it may become historic before it's finally over. The dry weather has caused major headaches for city firefighters who have had to battle numerous grass fires in the past few days in and around the city.       

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Well, it took awhile, but it looks like spring has finally sprung in Winnipeg and southern MB as sunny skies and temperatures in the mid teens signalled the warmest weather here since last October (6 months ago!)   And the springlike weather is expected to continue this weekend with temperatures in the upper teens, possibly closing in on 20C in some localities!  The only fly in the ointment will be gusty southerly winds accompanying the warm temperatures over the weekend, especially Sunday with southerly winds gusting to 50-60 km/h. Otherwise, it'll be a great weekend to enjoy the outdoors like riding your bike, getting some swings in at the driving range, or starting on that spring cleaning! Temperatures are expected to cool off to around 7-10C Tuesday, but then should rebound into the upper teens to 20C by next Thursday again. So spring is here.. at least for the next little while! Enjoy! 

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Cold start to April.. spring slow to arrive this year

Those hoping for a quick transition to spring as the calendar switches to April are going to be disappointed as the Prairies remain stuck in a below normal temperature pattern for at least the next 1-2 weeks.  The colder than normal pattern will mean that an extensive lingering snowpack over the Prairies and northern Plains will be slow to disappear, making it even harder for warmer temperatures to surface. As a result, expect a slow and gradual melt this year.. likely leading to the latest snowmelt here since 2014. Precipitation over southern MB looks below normal as well as the main storm track sets up south of the international border, for this week anyways. Models are hinting of a more active pattern setting up next week over the southern Prairies which may bring some accumulating snow into southern MB again by early next week (ugh!)  

As of April 1st, the highest temperature in Winnipeg so far this year has been only +5.4C (March 27th) with no hint of double digits temperatures in the near future.  In comparison, Winnipeg had already reached double digits twice in March of 2017 (including 12.3C on March 29th), and another 10 times in the first 2 weeks of April 2017 (19.8C on Apr 8th). We'll need to lose a lot more snowpack before we see temperatures like that this year.  Note that normal highs in early April in Winnipeg are +5C, rising to +10C by mid month and 15C by April 30th.   

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Potent storm system to bring widespread snow to southern MB Sunday night into Tuesday

Surface weather map valid midnight Sunday night shows
system bringing widespread snow across southern MB
A potent storm system is forecast to develop over the central US plains later this weekend, and is expected to bring widespread snow to southern MB Sunday night into Tuesday. After a quiet winter that has seen very little snowfall (the lowest Dec-Feb snowfall in at least 30 years in Winnipeg), this upcoming storm system has the potential to produce the most significant snowfall of the season for much of southern MB, including Winnipeg. There's still a lot of uncertainty with how this storm will track and develop, but at this point, it's looking like a widespread snowfall of 15-30 cm is possible for many areas by Tuesday.

Preceding this main storm will be an initial system on Saturday that will bring a band of snow which will push across southern MB and settle into the Interlake region. This initial impulse may bring a couple cm of slushy snow to southern MB, but it shouldn't have much impact with temperatures around the melting point. Some rain may even mix in Saturday afternoon.

Things will start to get interesting by Sunday afternoon as the main storm system starts intensifying as it moves out of Colorado. This storm will track into Minnesota by Sunday night spreading a widespread area of snow across southern MB. The snow may be wet and slushy at first with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark Sunday through Sunday night. Snow could be heavy at times Sunday night into Monday as the storm system slowly pushes across Minnesota, with gusty northeast winds as well. This will make for treacherous driving conditions across southern MB Monday. Snowfall will linger into Tuesday before the system gradually winds down. As noted, snowfall amounts are still tough to predict this far out based on uncertainty in storm track and temperature profile, but in general, it looks like most of southern MB could be looking at 15-30 cm between Saturday and Tuesday night. The highest amounts would likely be over the western Red River valley with some upslope enhancement along the Pembina escarpment, but many areas have the potential to see significant snowfall with embedded bands of heavier snow. Stay tuned as more information becomes available on this developing storm system.     

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Brief mid week warm up.. but generally below normal this week and next. Snow drought continues..

It's been a cold start to February across southern Manitoba, and it looks like the cold weather will persist through much of this week and next. There will be some brief warmups from time to time (such as this Wednesday), but overall, it looks like a below normal temperature pattern is expected across the Prairies through next week. As of Feb 10th, the average temperature at YWG airport has been -21.4C, about 6C below average for the first 10 days of the month.  It's been the 3rd coldest start to February in the past 20 years (only Feb 2007 and 2014 had colder starts) 

As for this week, it will be another cold start to the work week as temperatures drop to the -30C mark early Monday with winds of 10-15 km/h producing windchills near -40.  Highs of -16C are expected by afternoon, about 6C below the average high of -10C for this time of year. Temperatures will moderate to -5C by Tuesday but gusty SW winds of 30-50 km/h will make it feel colder. On Wednesday, a clipper system will track through the MB interlake area bringing a brief warmup to southern MB, with highs rising close to the freezing mark in Winnipeg by Wednesday afternoon. The mild spell will be short lived however as a trailing cold front pushes through in the afternoon, sending temperatures falling as strong northerly winds develop. Some snow and blowing snow will likely develop as well Wednesday afternoon and evening as the colder air spreads in. This will lead into another few days of colder than normal weather to end the week Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to moderate again next weekend, but again, the warmup looks short lived as colder weather returns for the third week of February. 

Precipitation-wise, new snowfall looks minimal again across southern MB. There may be a bit of snow with the Arctic front Wednesday (tr - 2 cm) but other than that, no significant precipitation is expected over southern MB through next weekend. As of Feb 10th, Winnipeg has seen only 52.8 cm of snow this winter.. its lowest snowfall to this point in the winter since the winter of 2011-12 (48 cm to Feb 10th) and the 2nd least snowfall to Feb 10th in at least 20 years. (On average, Winnipeg gets about 76 cm of snow by Feb 10th). Last winter, Winnipeg had seen 121 cm of snow by Feb 10th - over twice the amount this season - thanks in large part to the snowiest December in 58 years.  The meager snowfall this winter has boosted the city of Winnipeg's 2017 municipal budget surplus by another $6 million thanks to less than projected snowclearing operations.