Sunday, April 13, 2014

Record cold possible this week before warming trend for Easter holiday weekend..

Well below normal temperatures will once again flood into southern Manitoba over the next few days in the wake of yesterday's storm system that brought snow, ice pellets and patchy rain or drizzle across the area. Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing through Thursday before milder weather moves in by the end of the week. Temperatures for the first half of the week will be more typical for early March than mid April, with highs around -5C and lows near -15C, well below normal for this time of year (normal highs are now +10C, normal lows -2C)  In fact, some record low maximum and minimum temperatures will be challenged this week in Winnipeg, especially Tuesday and Wednesday.

Record temperatures for Winnipeg this week.

DATE.........    REC LOW MIN ........... REC LOW MAX ..... Forecast low/high this week

Mon Apr 14 ....  -16.7C  (1893) .......   -7.8C (1880)  ............  -14/-6
Tue Apr 15 .....  -16.7C  (1893) ........  -6.7C  (1875) ............   -17/-6
Wed Apr 16 ....   -16.7C  (1875)  ......  -4.4C  (1910) ............  -13/-5
Thu Apr 17 .....   -13.3C  (1953) ........  -3.3C (1953)  ............  -12/-2

Normals for the period: High +10C, Low -2C.
Note that Winnipeg has never recorded a temperature colder than -15C after April 16th so temperatures this week represent some of the coldest weather on record for so late in the year here. The good news is that there are signs of a significant warmup by the Easter holiday weekend, with temperatures climbing to double digit values again. We can only hope the latest cold spell this week is winter's last hurrah after what has been a much too long stay this year. Over the past 11 weeks, Winnipeg has seen only 10 days above normal. The graph below shows daily temperature departures for Winnipeg over the past 90 days, which clearly shows an overly persistent pattern of well below normal temperatures since late January (in fact, since the beginning of December)  We're well overdue for a pattern change..

Daily temperature departures for Winnipeg over
the past 90 days. Mother Nature needs a major reboot

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Like it or not.. here comes the snow..

640 am Woodlands radar and webcam images
showing progress of snow across
southern MB early this morning
The latest bout of winter is on its way across southern Manitoba this morning with snow spreading into areas west of Portage La Prairie as of 7 am. Snow will continue to advance east this morning, reaching Winnipeg by mid to late morning. Snow may become heavy at times, with amounts of 5 cm possible by mid afternoon, although some areas could see 5-10 cm in heavier bands. Heaviest snowfall amounts are expected over higher terrain northwest of Portage La Prairie where 10-15 cm is expected today.

Follow this blog, my webcam page, MB highways, and AWM radar to keep track of this latest bout of wintery weather.

UPDATE: Snowfall reports from April 12th

Mafeking ............ 22 cm  (north of Swan River)
Cowan ............... 18 cm  (east of Swan River)
St Claude ............ 15 cm (south of Portage La Prairie)
Rossburn ............ 14 cm (southwest of Riding Mtn Park)
Carman .............. 10 cm
Brandon .............. 5-10 cm  (5 cm at YBR airport)
Neepawa ............  9 cm
Miami .................  9 cm
Gilbert Plains ....... 8 cm
St Alphonse ........  7 cm (south of Spruce Woods Park)
Portage LP .........  7 cm
High Bluff ............  7 cm (east of Portage La Prairie)
Morden ................ 6 cm
Winkler ................ 5 cm
Pinawa ................. 5 cm 
Marquette ............ 5 cm (east of Portage La Prairie)
Stony Mtn ............ 4 cm
Winnipeg .............  2 cm  (5 mm melted precip with ice pellets, rain and drizzle)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

After a springlike week, back to some winter this weekend..

Spinglike weather finally made an appearance over southern MB this week with the first double digit temperatures of the season in Winnipeg Wednesday (high of +10.4C), and almost 20C temperatures over the southwest RRV (19.3C in snowfree Morden) The mild temperatures have made a significant dent in the snowpack across southern MB, with most areas west of the Red River valley and south of the TransCanada now snow free. Here in Winnipeg, snowdepth at my location has dropped to 14 cm this morning after being at 40 cm just last weekend. Snowcover should continue to go down over the next couple of days as daytime temperatures remain above freezing.

But don't put away the snowshovels and boots just yet!  Believe it or not, indications are that Winnipeg and much of southern  MB will be seeing more of the white stuff this weekend, especially Saturday as a couple of disturbances track across the southern Prairies, while colder air flows in from the north. The first wave of snow is expected to spread over SW MB and along the US border Friday night into early Saturday, before another disturbance from central Saskatchewan brings a second wave of snow across the western Parklands into the Red River valley through Saturday, including Winnipeg.  There is still a lot of uncertainty about how much snow will fall with these systems due to temperatures hovering near the freezing mark, but it's possible Winnipeg and the RRV could see 5-10 cm of snow Saturday, while some higher elevations of western MB may see 15 cm of snow or more. Colder air will follow in the wake of these systems with daytime highs remaining below freezing early next week, well below normal for this time of year (normal highs now +9c). Temperatures are expected to moderate by the end of next week with near normal temperatures again by next weekend. Until then, get ready for another taste of winter.. hopefully the last parting shot of the season!  

Saturday, April 05, 2014

After coldest 4 month stretch in 115 years, spring weather finally returning to southern Manitoba

It's been a long tough winter in southern Manitoba, but springlike weather is finally returning this week as temperatures rise well above freezing for the next 7 days at least. The stubborn source of Arctic air that has persisted over central Canada for the last 4 months is finally showing signs of  retreating back north, which will allow more seasonable temperatures to spread across southern Manitoba this week. Normal highs are now +7C in Winnipeg, as we enter the climatogical period when snow cover has normally disappeared in the Red River valley.  This of course is not the case this year as snowdepths of 25-50 cm are still prevalent across much of the northern valley, including Winnipeg (officially 40 cm at my place as of this morning)  However, the upcoming spell of mild temperatures will make a big dent in the snowpack by the end of the week, and it's likely some parts of the Red River valley will be snowfree by next weekend.  The big melt this year is coming 2-3 weeks earlier than last year when the snowpack didn't disappear until April 27th in Winnipeg, thanks to prolonged cold weather that didn't see temperatures rise above +5C at Winnipeg airport until April 24th, the latest date on record. The good news with this week's big melt is that no significant precipitation is expected until at least next weekend, which will ease major flooding concerns. Nonetheless, the rapid melt this week will likely result in ponding of water in poor drainage areas as well as rising water levels in ditches.

Update on March stats: March finished with an average temperature of -12.7C in Winnipeg, the 19th coldest March on record, and the coldest March since 1996 (-13.0C)  The month averaged almost 7C below the 1981-2010 March average of -5.8C.  This made the 4 month period of December-March the coldest such period in Winnipeg since the winter of 1898-99 with an average temperature of -18.4C (tied with 1898-99)  During that 4 month period, Winnipeg saw 90 days with temperatures of -20C or lower.. the 6th most since 1872. For more details, see Winnipeg weather blog post on this year's harsh winter.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March going out like a lion as major winter storm set to impact North Dakota, northern Minnesota, NW Ontario, SE Manitoba Monday

RDPS model valid Monday evening
showing large winter storm system
grazing southern Manitoba 
The never ending winter of 2013-14 is set to close out March with a bang as a major winter storm develops over the central US later this weekend, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Dakotas and northern Minnesota by Monday. The bulk of the heaviest snow with this storm is expected to fall mainly south and east of Manitoba, however the southern Red River Valley and SE Manitoba will likely get snow from this system along with strong winds and blowing snow. This would include Emerson, Steinbach and areas close to the Ontario border. Current indications are that Winnipeg will be on the northern edge of this large storm system, but some snow is also possible here Monday along with cold northerly winds. Note that Winnipeg will see worse conditions if the storm tracks further north, so it's important to keep updated on the progress of this storm as it develops over the next day or two.  

Blizzard watches (light green) and
winter storm watches (blue) are in
effect south of the US border
This storm has the potential to be a major snow producer over the Red River valley of North Dakota with amounts of 20-30 cm possible Sunday night into Monday night. In addition, strong northerly winds will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow with blizzard conditions likely over much of eastern North Dakota. In fact, a blizzard watch has been issued for much of eastern North and South Dakota from late Sunday through Monday night. Travellers should be prepared for poor driving conditions and possible road closures south of the border with this storm. This storm will also impact NW Ontario Monday into Tuesday as it heads east, so be prepared for poor travelling conditions if you're heading into northwest Ontario early next week.

Projected snowfall amounts (inches) from WPC/NOAA. Map shows swath of heaviest snow setting up between Grand Forks and Fargo through northern Minnesota into NW Ontario where 20-30 cm is possible Sunday night into Monday night