Thursday, February 23, 2012

Storm system threatens snow for Sunday

A storm system is expected to cross North Dakota Sunday bringing a widespread area of snow across the southern Prairies and northern Plain states. Current indications are that the heaviest snow with this system will affect areas mainly near and south of the international border Sunday, although snow is expected across much of southern Manitoba as well. Early snowfall estimates point to about 5 cm along the TransCanada corridor (including Winnipeg) with 10 cm closer to the US border and 10-20 cm south of the border. If the storm tracks further north, these amounts will increase northward. This system is still 3 days away, so there continues to be some uncertainty on its exact track and associated snowfall, but it certainly bears watching, especially if you're considering travel Sunday across southern MB or the northern US states. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Sat Feb 25th: Winter storm warnings are now in effect for northern ND and MN, and southern SK up to the Manitoba borders. Looks like worst of storm will be tracking from central Alberta through southern Saskatchewan into North Dakota where snowfalls of 10-20 cm are forecast, with southern MB on the northern edge of the heaviest snow (up to 10 cm possible near the US border - see accompanying map showing 24 hr snowfall amounts between noon today and noon Sunday). Note that over southern SK today, strong easterly winds and snow will combine to produce possible blizzard conditions at times today, including over the TransCanada from the AB border to Regina area. If you have travel plans out west today or south tomorrow, be prepared for poor highway conditions and possible road closures.

Snowfall totals from Sunday across southern MB..

Winkler ............ 16 cm
Belmont ........... 13 cm
Miami .............. 12 cm
Altona .............. 10-15 cm
St Labre .......... 10 cm /SE of Steinbach/
Steinbach ......... 5 cm
Winnipeg .......... 4 cm
Oakbank ........... 2 cm


  1. GLB GEM tonight faster and weaker on Sunday storm though Dakotas.. with bulk of snow still south of border. System still gives southern MB a shot of snow, but it may be moving through quicker with lower amounts. We'll see if the trend continues..

    GLB also showing another intense system pushing up through the Dakotas by next Tuesday or Wednesday. The end of February making up for a very boring start!

  2. Winter storm watches in effect for northern ND and MN, and southern SK. Suspect watches will be hoisted for portions of southern MB today.. most likely for SW MB and along the US border. Looks like worst of storm will be tracking from central Alberta through sern SK into ND, with the northern RRV/Winnipeg on the northern edge of the heaviest snow..

    Note the strongly worded statement over southern SK, where strong easterly winds and snow will combine to produce possible blizzard conditions across much of southern SK Saturday, including Regina. If you have travel plans out west this weekend, or south.. be prepared for poor highway conditions and possible road closures.

  3. WOW!
    This storm look serious!
    Thanks for the updates Rob!

  4. Rob,
    Why such the quick flip over to stormy weather?? Why all winter could we not get one storm and now things are looking like we might get back to back storms in the area!!

  5. Serious yet it will most likely miss or only clip us :(

  6. Yes,Saskatchwan looks to get the worst of the storm, but the latest GFS has brought the storm further north allowing Winnipeg to get close to 10 CM!!!

  7. I don't know about you Rob, but I find it funny how we were on pace to have one of the driest February's on record, now the tables have completely turned and in SOME area's of Southern Manitoba could have well above average snow for the month, assuming that we get the storm on Sunday and the monster storm mid week....LOL :-D

  8. Yeah, it's been quite the turn around from the first half of the month. But CPC hinted at that in their 8-14 day outlook over a week ago, pointing to greater chances of colder and snowier weather over the northern plains for the end of Feb, which looks like it will work out.

    As for Sunday, still looks like Winnipeg will get clipped by Sunday's clipper (models have been amazingly consistent with this storm).. still looking like a 5-10ish type storm for us, with greater amounts to our south and west. The next storm for Tue-Wed looks more ominous for YWG/SE MB with a more classic Colorado low type set up, although GFS and Euro currently keep it mainly south of the border for now, but I suspect they may trend northward with this one (latest GGEM is furthest north with an all out blizzard for southern RRV/eastern ND with over a foot of snow!). Finally some real weather to talk about! (Dan-GFK must be dancing with joy!)

  9. Latest numbers from the various models concerning precip amounts for Winnipeg in mm for Sunday (snow in cm assuming 15:1 snow:water ratio):

    GGEM: 4 mm (6 cm)
    NAM: 5 mm (7.5 cm)
    GFS: 8 mm (12 cm)
    Euro: 8 mm (12 cm)
    Ensembles: 5 mm (7.5 cm)

    So model consensus is for about 4-8 mm water equivalent for Winnipeg, which would translate to about 5-12 cm of snow for us. Those numbers could change of course depending on track of storm, strength of winds, and resulting snow:water ratios. Models still consistent on bringing heaviest swath of snow (10-20 cm) to the south and west of Winnipeg, into northern ND. That's how it's looking 48 hours in advance... we'll keep you posted on how the storm is progressing through the next couple of days.

  10. Rob I just checked EC's 4:00 pm update. I am totally confused. All week they have been forecasting periods of snow etc. Now we get this:

    "Tonight Light snow ending early this evening then clearing. Wind north 30 km/h becoming light overnight. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 25 overnight. Saturday Sunny. Increasing cloudiness late in the afternoon. High minus 11. Saturday night Cloudy. Snow beginning near midnight. Amount 2 cm. Wind becoming east 20 km/h in the evening. Low minus 13. Sunday Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. High minus 7. Monday Sunny. Low minus 17. High minus 13. Tuesday Cloudy. Low minus 19. High minus 5. Wednesday A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 10. High minus 4. Thursday A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 10. High minus 4."

    60% chance of flurries. I thought all the models were in agreement for snow on sunday. What model does EC use?

  11. I was surprised by that too. EC still uses the GLB model for the forecast from Day 3 out to Day 7.. but those forecasts are automated using some complex post processing statistics, which sometimes don't adequately handle the weather situation presented by the models. I'm pretty sure the next forecast for Sunday will have snow back in the forecast for Winnipeg, with amounts of 5 cm or so. Click on the "48 hr" forecast graph under the forecast graphic on my main web page to see the latest snowfall output for Winnipeg from (very handy graphs) These are updated every 6 hours with each new model run.

  12. Best get the snowplows ready Daryl!! Lots of Potential for a plowable snow :-)

  13. Thanks Rob.

    Daniel the machines are all fueled and ready to go hope I didn't jinx myself

  14. Nice evening out there after a blustery day. Interesting to see the moon, Venus and Jupiter all lined up in the western night sky.

  15. The Moon, Venus and Jupiter all lined up the sky....OH MY....This must be sign of the end the world!!!!! From this very moment you will find my in my underground bunker.

  16. Looking at the models this morning, seems like we are going into quite the active period, with many oppurtunity's for accumulating snow :-)

  17. Well, we've closely been following what the models have been telling us the past couple of days.. now it's time to see what's really happening. Morning radar composites from western Canada show a large area of snow over Alberta into western SK, with the heaviest snow occurring over east central AB between Medicine Hat and Coronation ready to push into SW SK this morning. Surface visibilities in the snow area generally 3/4 - 2 miles, which isn't that bad, with lower vsbys under the heavier bands. Latest guidance is a little further south and lighter on the snow amounts, with the swath of heaviest snow now expected over southwestern SK into ND where 10-20 cm is possible. Increasingly looks like this will be a non event for Winnipeg/SE MB.. with perhaps 5 cm at most for us Sunday..and higher amounts of 5-10 cm south towards the US border. I'll keep you posted on progress and updates as the storm approaches.

    As for storm #2 Tue-Wed.. GGEM has come in line with Euro and GFS taking worst of storm south of the MB border, affecting mainly eastern Dakotas and Minnesota. Consensus now is that this storm will miss southern MB, but will likely be major storm south of the border with 20-30 cm of snow possible, strong winds and blizzard conditions, especially towards the Fargo area. We'll see if the models trend north with this one.. but so far, looks like a miss for us.

  18. I find it quite difficult posting on my blog, about the storm system for Tomorrow. Any tips?

  19. Rob is this storm still tracking as you expected?

  20. Daryl..

    Storm is tracking pretty much as expected.. maybe a little further south, but general track is pretty much what the models have been advertising for the past couple of days. Snowfall so far not as much as I was expecting, so the visibilities haven't been as bad as they could have been had the snow been heavier.

  21. Rob!
    If the system is diving to the SW into the dakota's, why is the radar returns heading from the south heading to the northeast???

  22. Good eye there daniel! The upper flow is still from the southwest to northeast this evening.. so the radar is showing precipitation aloft spreading to the northeast. The main storm and energy however is moving into North Dakota tonight, so the bulk of the heavier snow will remain mainly along and south of the border.. with the snow in southern Manitoba weakening as it heads northward into drier air.

    As of 10 pm, the leading edge of the snow was approaching a Portage - Morris line heading east. Should be seeing some light snow moving into Winnipeg after midnight.

  23. Ec has been going with 2- 4 cm of snow the past few days and they are sticking with those numbers today. Rob, you are right, that Northeast wind is eating away at that snow shield.

    Tuesday/ Wed storm.....Winter storm watch for the twin cities area, showing me that the trend is pretty far south, with over a FOOT of snow in some area's . Fargo would also get over a foot. Why do they always get to have the fun. Share the snow....LOL :-D

  24. I've picked up 1-2 cm of snow so far as of 9 am.. very fine snow with some drifting. Radar shows a heavier band of snow to the south of Winnipeg heading north.. which will give us a period of some heavier snow shortly. About 4-6 cm of new snow reported this morning through the Miami-Winkler area.

  25. Rob what time do you think most of the snow will clear out of the Winnipeg area?

  26. Daryl..

    I think the snow will be with us most of the day, tapering off by 6 pm or so. The heaviest snow should be this morning (with that band moving through) then lighter snow this afternoon before tapering off by evening. In total, I'm thinking 5 cm still looks a like a reasonable tally for Winnipeg (give or take a couple cm).. with up to 10 cm to our south and west.

    By the way, I've added a new radar link in my radar page.. called "Brad's Radar Viewer" from the Weather Moment website. (You can also access it my clicking o the Woodlands or Foxwarren radar image) It is SO much more useful than the radar images from Weatheroffice, with the ability to loop radar images in 10 minute intervals up to 80 images (over 12 hours!) plus zoom capabilities. It also has a radar precip accumulation product. Excellent viewer for Prairie radar data.

  27. Grand Forks visibility is down to 0.25 miles. It's says feezing fog along with snow.Looks like area's along the highway 2 in North Dakota will have the highest snowfall totals.

  28. "Brad Radar Viewer" does not work on my web browser. The internet explorer that came with Window's 7 is not compatible with this radar. I have to download a new browser just for this????

  29. Daniel
    I have the same issue. Doesn't work.

  30. daniel.. yes, I forgot to mention that. It doesn't work with IE browser. But it does work with Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc

    I would highly recommend downloading Firefox, if only just to get the Radar Viewer. But Firefox is a great browser, I prefer it over IE.

  31. HI Rob,

    Looking at the radar it appears to have stopped snowing. Do you think that is all we will get?


  32. Wow is the wind ever strong on the north side of the city.

  33. Yeah, it's pretty much done in Winnipeg.. some bands still off to our south but things are winding down. The bigger issue now is the gusty northeast winds giving blowing and drifting snow into this evening.

    Hard to measure the snow due to the drifting but I'd say about 4-5 cm at my place in total today.. with drifts of 10-15 cm in places. Just a good ole fashioned blustery winter day in southern MB!

  34. I'm going with an official storm total of 4.4 cm at my place, with about 1.4 cm between midnight and 8 am, and another 3 cm today. So kudos to the 7 people who picked 2-5 cm in the snow poll! (majority went with 5-10 cm which also wasn't a bad guess)

    Snowfall was tough to measure due to drifting with considerably deeper drifts of 15 cm in spots. Actually used my snowblower for the first time this winter to get through some decent drifts on my driveway (plus, I had to use the thing sometime this winter before the carburetor gummed up!)

    With today's snowfall, that puts my February snowfall up to 18 cm (all of it falling after the 14th), and winter snowfall up to 66 cm. Normally we receive 83 cm by the end of February. Snowdepth is 16 cm.

  35. GFK has posted a blizzard watch for Tuesday's storm from Grand Forks southward to the SD border.. That one's shaping up to be a doozy..

  36. Blizzad watch.....this storm means business!! This is one of those storms that will most likely shut down the highways south of the border.Please keep us posted when you get a chance. Thanks!

  37. In the blizzard watch, the NWS states that this could be the strongest storm of the winter season.......Well that not saying much :-P LOL!!!!!

  38. The GEM GLB model is hinting at the storm system staying south of the border for wednesday with a swath of snow, accumulations are hinting between 5 and 20 cm. Let's hope we dodge this one, I don`t want to shovel 20cm of snow!

  39. Looking at those snowfall amounts, looks like some areas got a good dumping. Hard to predict those ISOLATED pockets of heavier snow!!

  40. Hi Rob,

    Just wondering. Are we getting more snow this week? WN says another 5 on Wednesday. Starting to feel like winter just begun.


  41. Anonymous..

    I don't think we'll see any snow Wednesday.. we'll be north of a strong system that will be giving heavy snow through the southern Dakotas and Minnesota.

    We have a chance of some snow Thursday into Friday as a weak clipper moves across southern MB.. at this time looks like only a few cm possible... nothing major. But yes, it certainly is feeling like winter has just begun. Snowdepth is deepest as its been all winter here, and there's a lot more widespread snow on the ground over the northern plains and southern Prairies. That will likely delay chances for an early spring around here..

  42. Some areas of North Dakota into Minneasota look to recieve between 12 -15 inches of snow with winds gusting as high as 40 mp/h. This one is gonna shut down traffic in some areas with severe drifting.

  43. Recent updates on models seem to be pointing at us getting brushed by the storm. GEM showing 5-10 cm possible along US Border, and perhaps 1-3 cm in WPG. I find GEM has been performing not so bad lately, so will be interesting to see if that trend continues with this one.

    I sure hope not :P Getting enough of this snow myself.

  44. When was the last major late Feb early March storm to miss us that didn't... more recent than 46 years ago?

  45. Just Brush by. that has familiar ring

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