Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Strong spring storm to bring rain to southern MB.. heavy snow to southwest SK

A strong spring storm organizing in Montana will track slowly eastward into North Dakota Wednesday and over southern MB Thursday. Rain from this system will spread across southern MB from the south and southwest during the day Wednesday reaching Winnipeg by late afternoon. Rain will continue Wednesday night over the Red River valley with 10-20 mm possible. Heavier amounts of 20-30 mm are possible over southwest MB and along the US border. Colder air on the backside of the storm system will bring heavy snow to Montana and parts of southern SK Wednesday, and it's possible that rain will change over to wet snow over portions of western MB Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's up with this weather?

Interesting satellite formation this afternoon.. even Mother Nature seems confused about our spring weather this year!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

System to bring rain/wet snow to southeast MB

A storm system developing in Colorado will track into Minnesota on Sunday bringing an area of rain into southern MB Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. Rain will likely change to wet snow Sunday night as colder air works into the backside of the storm system, with some accumulations possible by Monday morning (5 cm or less). The bulk of precipitation with this system is expected to hit the southern Red River valley and southeast MB where 5-10 mm is possible, while amounts of 10-20 mm are possible through the Red River valley of North Dakota. This system will pull out of the area on Monday but cooler than normal weather is likely through the rest of next week as cool high pressure remains entrenched across the Prairies while a stubborn storm track brings periodic rain or snow south of the border.        

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brief warmup.. then cooler with rain (or even snow!) possible by end of week

After a cool gloomy weekend, the weather will be getting a little brighter and warmer over the first half of this week. Clouds will give way to sunshine today which will allow temperatures to get to the 10 degree mark. Tuesday should be dry with sunshine mixing with some high cloud ahead of a weak disturbance moving through southern SK. On Wednesday a stronger storm system will track through the central Prairies bringing an increasing southerly flow over southern MB with temperatures climbing into the mid teens over the RRV, possibly hitting 20 degrees over SW MB. On Thursday, the storm system will drag a cold front through southern MB, bringing cooler air back into the province by the end of the week. This frontal zone will stall south of the US border late in the week through the weekend, with several impulses moving along the frontal zone that may threaten rain over the Red River valley Friday into the weekend. In fact, the air will be cold enough that rain may change to wet snow over higher elevations of SW MB. Cooler than normal weather is expected into next week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 flood second or third worst on record

The province released its latest flood statement today, and it indicates that this year’s flood in the Red River valley will likely rival 1979 as the second or third worst flood on record in portions of the river valley. Rainfall of about 10-15 mm Sunday and Monday, plus a rapid snowmelt on still frozen ground has increased tributary flows into the Red river causing higher water levels on the Red. Last week, the province was projecting flood crests at 2006 levels, but the recent mild wet weather has required a revision upward. These levels are still below the record flood of 1997, but make the 2009 flood one of the worst on record in the past 100 years. Compounding the high river levels have been serious ice jamming problems, particularly north of Winnipeg where significant damage to homes and properties has occurred due to flooding and ice floes.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Aerial Views of Red River Ice Jams

See more photos from the Free Press flyover here. (click on full screen view.. excellent images!)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Favourable weather eases flood threat over southern MB.. flooding still causing travel problems

Dry and cool weather over southern MB has eased the flood threat over the Red River valley, with levels now expected to peak near 2006 levels (around 4th or 5th highest). Sunny skies with temperatures just above freezing during the day and below freezing at night is causing a gradual snow melt, which is exactly what was needed in light of the high flood potential this spring. With no major precipitation expected the rest of the week, that will mean more time for snow levels to gradually decline by the weekend. Nevertheless the river is still flooding in North Dakota and southern MB, which can be seen from the satellite photo here. Note the widening of the Red River (dark areas) south of Morris near St Jean Baptiste, as well as in northern Minnesota on the east side of the Red River. The flooding and dike preparations have required the closing of some roads in southern MB, including much of Hwy 75 between Winnipeg and Morris. which could be closed for up to 3 weeks.

See also higher resolution MODIS satellite image at left taken April 7th showing flooded areas and remaining snowpack over southern MB and North Dakota.

Friday, April 03, 2009

NWS warns of potentially worse second crest..

NWS in Grand Forks has issued an updated flood forecast for the Red River in North Dakota, and it warns that a second crest due later this month may rival or even exceed levels from the first crest seen last week in Fargo. Due to record rainfall and snow in March in Fargo, NWS is predicting a 75% chance that the second crest in Fargo will reach the record 41 feet experienced in late March, with a 25% chance of reaching 43 feet. For further details, see NWS press release, and comments from Grand Forks meteorologist in charge Mark Frazier. What this means for localities downstream such as Grand Forks and southern Manitoba remains to be seen, as it will depend a lot on how much precipitation falls between now and this second crest. However, it certainly highlights the fact that the flooding threat on the Red will not be over with the passage of the first crest.

End of March snowstorms put spring on hold in Red River valley

While snowcover was pretty much gone in Winnipeg and the Red River valley by this time last year, it's a much different story this year. Two snowstorms in the last week of March deposited 30-40 cm of snow on Winnipeg and area, giving us early April snowdepths similar to midwinter. Cloud cover and below normal temperatures are delaying a quick melt of the snowcover, which is good news for the flood situation, but depressing for winter weary residents looking for spring. While snowcover in Winnipeg is usually gone by late March or early April, the weather pattern this year will likely prolong our snowcover well into the second or possibly third week of April. This is similar to Aprils of 1997, 1996 and 1979 which saw heavy April snowcover linger into the third or last weeks of the month. (see snowdepth statistics for Winnipeg airport) Hopefully, we can get into a trend of drier and milder weather by next week that will get rid of the snow by mid month, with reduced impacts on the flooding situation.