Sunday, March 22, 2015

Some wintery weather for the first week of spring..

After a spring like end to winter this year, old man winter will be making a return visit this week as a series of weather systems track across the southern Prairies and northern Plains states. The first system tonight is fairly weak, and is bringing some snow to southern Saskatchewan as of this (Sunday) evening. This area of snow will track across southwest Manitoba and the Riding Mtns tonight into the Red River valley overnight into Monday morning. Generally 2-4 cm of snow is possible with this disturbance, with a coating of 1-2 cm possible for Winnipeg overnight into Monday morning. Not a lot of snow.. but our first taste of the white stuff in over two weeks for the Monday morning commute.. so be prepared for it (roads in the city should just be wet rather than snow covered, but there could be some slippery sections, especially outside the city) 

Forecast probabilities of snowfall 10+ cm
Tuesday into Wednesday Mar 24-25th

Things get more interesting Tuesday into Wednesday as a stronger storm system tracks across Montana into North Dakota. This system is forecast to spread an area of heavier snow over southern Saskatchewan Tuesday which will be spreading into SW Manitoba, western Parklands and Interlake areas by Tuesday afternoon/evening. Temperatures will be warmer (above freezing) over Winnipeg and the RRV as well as SE Manitoba, so precipitation will likely begin as rainshowers later Tuesday before changing over to snow Tuesday night into Wednesday.  Snow is expected to continue much of Wednesday before tapering off Wednesday night. Snowfall amounts with this system will vary widely across southern MB, but at this time it appears the bulk of snow will be over the Riding Mtns and Interlake areas (possibly 10-20 cm) with lesser amounts over the RRV and SE MB (5-10 cm?). However, changes in the storm path and intensity could result in heavier amounts elsewhere. Stay tuned on this developing storm system as it brings a potentially significant snowfall over portions of southern Manitoba by mid week.

This photo montage from @JoshWright nicely chronicles
progression of snowcover in Winnipeg area over
the past couple of weeks

Storm snowfall update: (as of 9 am March 25th) 

Winnipeg ................ 5 cm
Portage La Prairie .... 5-10 cm
Brandon .................. 6 cm
Steinbach ................ 5 cm

Dauphin .............  15-25 cm
Rossburn ............. 20 cm
McCReary ........... 18 cm
Hodgson .............. 18 cm
Gilbert Plains ........ 15 cm
Neepawa ............. 15 cm
Roblin .................. 14 cm
Rivers ................... 10 cm
Miami ..................... 6 cm
Pinawa .................... 5 cm
Morris .................... 2 cm

Friday, March 13, 2015

Record warm March weekend for Winnipeg and southern MB!

Spring has sprung in southern Manitoba, with well above normal temperatures this week bringing a quick melt of the snowcover over much of the area. And the best is yet to come as even warmer air spreads across the southern Prairies this weekend, likely bringing record high temperatures in the teens over much of southern Manitoba including Winnipeg. The record high for Saturday (14th) for Winnipeg is 11.4C set in 1981 while Sunday's record high is 14.4C set during the record warm March of 2012. Both records are likely to fall in the city as temperatures reach the low to mid teens this weekend. In fact, it's possible some areas of the Red River valley may approach 20C on Sunday!!  Incredible to think we were locked in a deep freeze until this week, with temperatures still dipping well into the minus 20s during the first week of March. Slightly cooler but still mild weather is expected for next week. So get out and enjoy this fabulous weekend.. as spring has sprung early in southern Manitoba!      

CAUTION!:  City of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Police Service are reminding people that the mild temperatures through this weekend are making ice conditions on rivers and creeks extremely unstable and very unsafe. DO NOT attempt to walk on ice covered rivers, creeks or ponds as ice will be quickly deteriorating in the very mild temperatures. Remind children of this hazard.. we don't want this beautiful weekend turning into a tragedy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Snow likely for southern MB by Friday into the weekend.. but nothing like the Maritimes!

While the Maritimes digs out from its third major blizzard in a week (55+38+46 = 139 cm of snow in Moncton within the past 7 days!), residents of Winnipeg and southern Manitoba are beginning to forget what a snowstorm even looks like.  It's been over a month since Winnipeg's last major snowfall (12 cm Jan 2-3rd) and since then, snow has been meagre with a few minor snowfalls of 2 cm or less totalling 5 cm since then. In fact, there have been only 2 storm systems this winter in Winnipeg that have produced more than 5 cm of snow.. a 9 cm snowfall on Nov 28-29th, and the 12 cm snowfall Jan 2-3rd.  Other than that.. minor snowfalls now and then have brought our winter seasonal snowfall up to 46 cm as of the end of January.. some 26 cm below the average of 72 cm by Jan 31st (average seasonal snowfall in Winnipeg to May is 114 cm)  Last year we had accumulated 104 cm by the end of January with a total snowfall of 153 cm by the end of April. While the lack of snow has been great for travel and spring flooding concerns, it's turning into a major disappointment for storm lovers and outdoor enthusiasts such as snowmobiles and skiers who would like to see a deeper snowpack (current snowdepth is 12 cm vs 40 cm last year at this time).

So is there any snow in the forecast? Well, it appears that we may be seeing some new snowfall by the end of the week into the weekend as a couple of clipper systems track across the southern Prairies into the northern US plains. On Friday, an area of snow is expected to spread across southern MB as a system tracks across Montana into the Dakotas, with perhaps 2-5 cm for Winnipeg, and 5 cm or so over SW Manitoba. Another clipper will track across southern MB on Saturday with another 5 cm of snow or so possible. While these aren't major storm systems, they will likely result in poor travelling conditions once again after a month of almost snowfree conditions.

UPDATE: (Friday's first clipper system appears that it will just brush Winnipeg with a dusting to 2 cm, with up to 5 cm possible over SW Manitoba. Model guidance is now trending higher with snowfall amounts later Friday into Saturday with the next clipper system, now showing perhaps 10 cm or more possible for Winnipeg. Stay tuned on this developing situation.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

A break in the deep freeze this week..

Temperatures will be on the rise this week over southern Manitoba as the upper weather pattern allows a milder Pacific airmass to spread eastward across the Prairies.  As a result, the minus 20s and minus 30s of the past two weeks will give way to more moderate temperatures, likely reaching -5C or higher by Thursday.  In the meantime, we have another cold night ahead with temperatures remaining steady near -23C tonight with southerly winds of 30 km/h giving windchills in the mid -30s into early Tuesday morning. Temperatures Tuesday will finally be edging upward with temperatures near minus 12C by evening, although the day will see brisk southerly winds of 30 km/h or more through midday before easing by evening. Wednesday will see a clipper system tracking through central Manitoba bringing a band of snow mainly through the Interlake regions, although Winnipeg will likely see a band of snow through midday of perhaps 1-2 cm. Note that the snow will be accompanied by gusty south winds to 50 or 60 km/h, so reduced visibilities in snow and blowing snow will be an issue in the RRV as the band of snow moves through. Behind the snow, winds will shift into the west as the clipper tracks east, allowing milder temperatures over southern Saskatchewan to spread into southern Manitoba by afternoon and evening. Look for temperatures to rise to -3C or so in Winnipeg Wednesday night as southerly winds shift into the west.  After a mild start, Thursday will see slightly cooler conditions move in (but still above normal) as we get "backdoored" by a cool front thanks to NE outflow winds from a colder high pressure area over northern Manitoba. This will be followed by another surge of milder air over the weekend, possibly preceded by another band of snow Friday.  All in all, a change to milder weather on the way this week, but a bit of a roller coaster ride as periodic clipper systems move across the Prairies.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

A snowy start to 2015

24 hr snowfall estimates from WPC ensemble (inches)
to midday Saturday. Heaviest snow expected
mainly south of Winnipeg through Friday night
December finished with well below normal snowfall in Winnipeg with only 7.2 cm of snow recorded during the month (as observed by the Charleswood climate station)  This would rank as the 16th least snowy December in Winnipeg since records began in 1872.  Snowlovers have been anxious for some significant snow to fall across southern Manitoba as weather systems have been few and far between so far this winter season. But it looks like our first significant snowfall since late November is on its way across southern MB as a fairly intense clipper system tracks across southern SK into North Dakota Friday into Saturday. Snow from this system will spread across southwest MB Friday afternoon and into Winnipeg/RRV by Friday evening. Snow will be falling moderate to heavily Friday night with snowfall rates of 1-2 cm/hr at times before tapering off Saturday morning. At this point, it looks like the system will be bringing a wide swath of 10-20 cm of snow along and south of the TransCanada highway, with the heaviest amounts over southwest MB through the southern RRV into SE MB. For Winnipeg, it looks like we'll be seeing around 10 cm of snow Friday night with lesser amounts to the north of the city, and higher amounts to the south. In addition, northerly winds will be increasing overnight into Saturday morning giving areas of blowing and drifting snow especially outside the Perimeter and into the southern RRV. As a result, expect poor driving conditions Friday night into Saturday across the Red River valley into North Dakota and Minnesota. (NWS has posted winter storm watches and warnings for northern ND and northern MN due to this system)