Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A stormy end to 2010..

It looks like 2010 will be ending on a stormy note as a large storm system from the Pacific pushes into the central North America by mid week. This system will spawn two storm systems over the central plains that will affect southern MB beginning Wednesday night and continuing into New Year's Day. Significant snowfall and gusty winds will make for hazardous travel conditions over southern MB Thursday into New Years Day. The details..

Fair and mild conditions will prevail today and Wednesday with well above normal temperatures. Things however will begin to change Wednesday night as the first storm system begins to develop over the northern US Rockies. Snow from this system will spread into southern MB Wednesday night and intensify Thursday, along with increasing north winds. These winds will draw in much colder temperatures along with creating poor travel conditions in snow and blowing snow Thursday. Preliminary snowfall amounts from this system look to be in the 10-20 cm range across much of southern MB with the potential for locally higher amounts. Snow is expected to taper off overnight Thursday into Friday before another storm system intensifies over Minnesota by New Year's Eve. This system will track into NW Ontario and spread another area of snow and strong winds over southeastern MB New Years Eve into New Year's Day. There is still some uncertainty about the track of this second more intense storm system. If it tracks a little further east, southern MB will largely be spared from its worst effects. If it tracks a little further west however, it could bring blizzard-like conditions to the Red River valley for New Years Eve/Day. Whatever the case, the quiet tranquil weather of December will be coming to a stormy end as we close out 2010. Stay tuned on this developing winter weather situation.

See also
- HPC storm track projections, HPC snow charts
- NWS GFK winter weather monitor, GFK technical discussion
- GEM snowfall prog (click on NOAM zoom), EC discussion


  1. Well, unless things change dramatically, it looks like the wettest year on record is in the bag for Winnipeg. What a way to break the record.. with potential back to back winter storms!

  2. GFS seems to be slowly inching westward towards the ECMWF solution. The ECMWF shows 13.2mm of precipitation for Winnipeg during the first round of snow, then another 11.9mm of precipitation during the second round of snow.

    It looks to me like the european might be overdoing the second round of precipitation, but we'll have to see what happens.

    Rob...What kind of snow ratio are you expecting for the first/second rounds of snow? The models are showing really cold air being drawn into the system, so even on Thursday some calculations are showing a ratio of 20:1...do you think this is correct, or is it too high or low?

  3. Rob...Thanks for taking the time and effort in keeping us all informed on the storms and for putting all those handy "links" to all the websites!!!

    I agree....what a way to end a wet year!!!

  4. Scott..

    Snow:water ratios are always tricky to forecast.. as they depend on several factors including temperature, humidity, wind speed, and stability. In this case, I'm thinking the 20:1 ratios will be reduced due to the stronger winds which will lead to crystal fragmentation. Essentially, the winds break up the snow crystals and the snow is compacted more than you would normally see at colder temperatures. I'm thinking more like 15:1 ratios as a first guess.. maybe even 12:1 if the wind is strong enough.

  5. GFS continues to edge further west with the second system. It is now showing 10-15cm with the second wave for Steinbach and around 5cm for Winnipeg. Winnipeg is still in line for 10cm in the first wave according to the GFS, with Steinbach expecting closer to 15cm.

  6. Can anyone speculate as to when driving in and around Winnipeg could be an ordeal? Late Wednesday or into Thursday....?

  7. From what I've read Thursday will become an ordeal

  8. Is there any chance that like Dec 30 2006, this storm(s) will bring record warmth in the first week of January. Jim

  9. Anon..

    Driving conditions will deteriorate around Winnipeg overnight Wednesday into Thursday, as the first wave of snow moves in along with increasing north winds. Current guidance is suggesting the heaviest axis of snow Thursday will be south of Winnipeg over the southern RRV and SE MB where 15 cm or more is possible, although Winnipeg will likely see at least 10 cm. The southern RRV will also have the stronger winds down there so blowing and drifting snow will be worse. Overall though, it looks like most everyone in the RRV will be seeing poor travelling conditions Thursday.

  10. Latest GEM and NAM guidance this evening have backed off on the amounts with the first wave of snow Wed night/Thursday over southern MB.. with only 2-5 cm for Winnipeg, and 10 cm near the US border. We'll have to see if this is a consistent trend, or just a one-off solution based on tonight's run.

  11. In case no one has seen this. Cool timelapse of the New York snow.


  12. Got a few cm of snow tonight so that makes us edge oh so close to the record!!

    I see in Environment Canada's winter storm watch they mention Winnipeg could break the record!

  13. Whooa What happened to our storm. EC 5am update is now calling for the light snow tonight and now chance of flurries for thursday and sun for friday and saturday

  14. Daryl....fear not!
    We will still get a good storm but the second of the two storms will be stronger!

    Friday and Saturday sunny???
    I highly doubt that...but you never know!

    Winter storm warning for southern Manitoba. That's a first! Winter storm watch still in effect for ND!
    Usually NWS issues the warning first!

  15. As noted earlier, models last night have backed off on amounts with the first wave tonight and tomorrow.. with the consensus showing the bulk of the snow falling south of Winnipeg towards the US border into ND, and less to the north. Winnipeg will still see some snow (2-5 cm).. but according to these model runs, not as much as earlier indicated.

    Models are also trending towards a more progressive solution on the second phase of the storm Friday/Saturday (a track further east) which would give the worst impacts over nrn Minnesota and NW Ontario and just brush southeast MB and RRV with wind and cold.

    We'll see how this trends.. but I'm not feeling as confident that Winnipeg will see as much snow from this one-two punch as it was looking earlier (looking better to our south and east). Models are having a tough time resolving this volatile pattern, and pcpn forecasts can vary widely run to run especially if you lie on the edge of the pcpn envelope.

  16. Rob!
    If Winnipeg gets say even 5 cm of snow before Friday night will that with last nights snow put us over the record!!!

  17. Daniel..

    It all depends on the moisture content of the snow. If it's 10:1, then 5 cm would equal 5 mm of melted pcpn, and we'd break the record. If the snow was 20:1 ratio, then we'd have 2.5 mm of melted pcpn, and we wouldn't get the record. We need 3.5 mm of melted pcpn to set a new record.. and judging by the way this thing is trending, it'll be close..

  18. The airport picked up 1.0 mm water equivalent officially with last nights snow. So that puts Winnipeg at 722.0 mm for the year now, only 1.6 mm away from the record of 723.6 mm. I have that sinking feeling we will get 1.5 mm of precip through New Year's eve. That Mother Nature, she sure can be the ultimate b@#&$.

  19. LOL! That's funny!
    If it does not look like we will break the record someone bring there snow making machine to the airport and let er rip!!!

    Do whatever you have to do so we can break the record!!!

  20. Actully with the wind just bring your snowblower to the edge of the airport and let it rip the wind should bring the snow to the instruments.

  21. According to latest model consensus, Winnipeg will miss out on much of the fun over the next few days. We get brushed by tonight's/Thursday's system.. then we're too far west to get much from the second system Friday into Saturday. Things could change.. but that's the way models are seeing it right now. The wild weather won't be too far away however, with significantly worse conditions to our south and east, esplly in ern ND, nrn MN, and NW Ontario. Note that EC has upgraded the winter storm warning to a blizzard warning for the southern RRV.

  22. Do we still have time for more of this especially the second storm, or is the lead time to short for more changes?

    How close to the pcpn edge are we now?

    Models are having a tough time resolving this volatile pattern, and pcpn forecasts can vary widely run to run especially if you lie on the edge of the pcpn envelope.
    8:32 AM, December 29, 2010

  23. Interesting article in the Christmas Day NY Times as to what's causing the cold snowy winters of this decade:

    Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming


  24. Thanks for the info on weatherstations rob. Concerning the Vantage Pro2, the biggest concern I have is getting the data to the house. In my last experiences I had a tough time getting the data from the transmitter outside to the monitor inside, will I have these difficulties again based on your experiences? Also, if we don't have a AC power supply outside close to the station, what would be the next best thing to do to power the station in your opinion?

    Thanks again.

  25. MrFarms..

    In my experience, the Vantage Pro has an excellent wireless transmitter that does very well through walls and obstructions. They quote something like 1000' feet clear line of sight.. but through a home it's more like 300 feet or less, depending on the construction. Generally though, if you have a window between your weather station and the receiver console inside, it should receive the data packets pretty well. Davis stations have one of the best transmitters for wireless weather stations around.

    As for power to the weather station.. they are solar powered, so you don't need an AC supply. The station includes a 3V lithium battery to backup the power from the solar panel, which you replace every two years or so. The solar panel/battery backup does an excellent job powering the instrument suite, even in our cold climate.

  26. rob,

    Once again thanks for the great input on the weather station! I'm assuming that when you refer to the Vantage Pro, the Vantage Pro2 includes the same power supply (solar power/lithium battery)?

    As for the storm system affecting us, looks like the bulk will miss Winnipeg. Right now there is a strong band of snow here in the south end, and seems to be nothing in the northern part of the city. Seems like the accumulations will vary quite a bit from south to north end of the city as we've been recieving snow for the last 3 hours and the northern part nothing (according to radar).

  27. It looks like we only got a trace of snow. We were working on the south side of Assinaboine off Route 90 cleaning some parking lots from accumalted and blown snow. It snowed for several hours but it was very light and small flakes. North side doesn't look like they got any. I think we might come up just short of the record unless something drastic happens.

  28. I measured 10cm in my background from this first round of snow. However, I'll have to remeasure when it becomes light outside to make sure that I wasn't measuring in a snow drift.

  29. Maybe 0.5-1 cm of drifted snow last night here in Charleswood.. not even enough to shovel. So much for that 30 cm of snow the NAM was giving us just a couple days ago with this first wave. All the action shifts to our south and east now, and unless we get something with the back edge of that second system New Year's Eve.. it looks like "close but no cigar" for the record books.

    MF.. Yes, all the Vantage Pro products have the same design with the solar panel/battery back up. Search the Davis website (www.davisnet.com) for more specs on all their products.

  30. Some overnight snowfall observations..

    Falcon Lake... 8 cm
    Snowflake..... 5 cm
    Winkler ...... 4 cm
    Piney ........ 2 cm
    Oakbank ...... 1 cm
    Chwd ......... 0.4 cm

    As noted, little or no snow over northern Winnipeg and points north and west. Earlier model runs really overestimated the amounts with this initial impulse.

  31. It was real interesting watching that Radar last night and the snow line how it just seemed to dance around the city. It would look like Winnipeg was just about to be enveloped and then it would jog around the city like the snow thought it was poison.

  32. Interesting article on our "WET RECORD" in the Wpg Free Press today.

    Closing In on our WET RECORD