Saturday, February 15, 2014

Milder week ahead.. but first, some snow and blowing snow Sunday night

After 3 straight weeks of below normal temperatures, some milder weather is finally returning to southern MB next week as a milder Pacific flow spreads across the Prairies.  Temperatures in Winnipeg have been below normal since Jan 24th when we hit a high of -2C. Since then, we've gone 22 straight days below normal, with an average temperature of -22C so far this month, over 8C below normal for February.  Temperatures by Monday will be climbing towards the -1C mark, and should stay near or above normal through Thursday (normal highs now are -8C). This will mark our first spell of above normal weather since mid January. Other than that, temperatures have generally been below normal since early December over southern MB.

The milder weather will be ushered in by a warm front which will crossing southern MB Sunday night from the west.  Ahead of the front, a band of snow will spread into southwest MB Sunday afternoon, reaching Winnipeg and the Red River valley Sunday evening.  The band of snow will last about 6 hours and will drop between 4 and 8 cm of snow across southern MB, including Winnipeg. Snow may be moderate to heavy at times and will also be accompanied by strong southerly winds gusting to 60 or even 70 km/h up the Red River valley. This will lead to extensive blowing and drifting snow Sunday evening with poor visibilities especially in open areas where blizzard conditions are possible. Keep that in mind if you have travel plans in the Red River valley Sunday night. Once the band of snow passes overnight Sunday, winds will shift into the west, tapping milder air from Alberta for Monday.

Rob's Obs Snowfall forecast for Winnipeg: Sunday February 16  
(updated 9 am Feb 16)

Start time: 6-8 pm 
End time: 2-3 am (Feb 17)
Snowfall: 4-8 cm, but extensive drifting and blowing snow
Visibility: Generally 0.5-1.5 km, occasionally 400 metres or less in snow and blowing snow
Winds: South 40 gusting 60 km/h during snowfall
Temperature: Steady around -10C during snowfall


29 comments:

  1. Snow expected to arrive in Winnipeg from the west between 6-8 pm Sunday evening, and move out by 2 am or so. About 2-5 cm expected here, but also a fair bit of blowing and drifting snow with those strong southerly winds, so it will be tough to measure accurately. Another round of shovelling by Monday morning! At least it will be milder Monday.. so keep in mind that city roads will become very messy with all the melting snow and ice. Stock up on the washer fluid!

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  2. Hey Rob,

    Any chance of that snow storm (previous blog)on Wed/Thur coming through? I see WN is now only calling for 1-3 cm where before it was calling for 10 - 15 cm.

    Thanks

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  3. Todd..

    No, it's looking less and less likely there'll be a significant storm for us Thursday. We still may see some minor amounts with a weaker system moving through, but a Colorado low type storm is looking less likely.

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  4. Models are coming in with slightly higher snowfall amounts for tonight.. with about 4-8 cm now for Winnipeg. That is a pretty good burst of snow over 6-8 hours, so snowfall rates will be heavy at times. Combine that with those strong southerly winds gusting to 60 km/h or higher over the Red River valley this evening, and you're going to have some very poor visibilities in falling snow and blowing snow. Wouldn't be surprised to see some blowing snow warnings issued for Winnipeg and the RRV today, as they've already been issued for SE Saskatchewan this morning.

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  5. Get your shovels ready. Winnipeg's updated forecast now calls for 5 -10 cm of snow.

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  6. thanks Rob for the Sunday "mini blizzard" update with timing & amount information. That's the kind of WX info that's 100% user useful. Chris in Westwood.

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  7. Blowing Snow Warnings issued for Western and Southern RRV, Winnipeg not included. Blowing snow not likely to be an issue here in Winnipeg obviously which is most often the case inside city limits.

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  8. Radar shows a leading band of snow edging into the city shortly.. but should be short lived.. perhaps 10-20 minutes as it passes through. Then a break before we get into the main area of snow an hour or two later when snow rates should pick up.

    Winds still not overly strong in Winnipeg.. only 25 km/h from the SE. They should pick up this evening as they become more southerly up the valley.

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  9. Still not snowing in Winnipeg as of 8PM but radar shows it should be snowing here within the next hour.

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  10. Light snow has spread into the city now.. although radar shows an area of heavier snow down towards Pilot Mound that is spreading ENE towards the RRV. If that area stays intact, we could see heavier snow rates here within a couple hours.

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  11. Snow lingered a little longer this morning than forecast, but it's starting to taper off now from the west. I measured about 6 cm new snow at my place, but measurements varied between 5-8 cm due to some drifting. Winds weren't as strong as forecast, thus blowing and drifting snow were not as much of an issue last night.

    Now that we got that out of the way, let the warm-up begin!

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  12. Too bad the warmup won't last.

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  13. "Let the warm up begin." Really!? You do know that there is a possibility (depending on temperature and sunlight of course) this will make things worse on the roads and sidewalks when things get cold again. After all, it's only February. Also I'd like to point out that no one seems to mention the fact that last summer was drier than normal (like summer of 2012 and there was above normal snowfall last winter as well). We've been receiving above average snow this season too. I'd be willing to bet that this summer will be hot again with below normal precipitation in the RRV. At this point one can only hope for a slow melt when the time comes (like last year) for those in rural areas. Thank you

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  14. Anonymous.. After 3 straight weeks of below normal temps, you can understand why many are looking forward to some milder weather. But the warm up this week is nothing severe or dramatic.. it's merely a few degrees above normal that will feel nice after such a long cold snap. If anything, it will help settle down the snow pack somewhat. But yes, looking ahead to the spring.. a gradual melt will be needed to lower the flood threat. Hopefully, we also get below normal precip levels in March and April to reduce the spring flooding, but right now, that seems less likely given how active this winter has been nation wide. This winter so far is reminiscent of the winters of 1949-50, '95-'96 or '78-'79, all of which were followed by major spring floods here. That doesn't mean it will happen this year, but it does give some pause for concern, especially if we maintain higher than normal precip levels over the couple of months.

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  15. -3 C in Portage La Prairie already. With light winds and full solar, this is a turning out to be a very nice day :)

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  16. Beautiful afternoon out there today with sunshine and -3C temps.. first day of the year that it felt like spring. Sure felt nice.. with lots of people taking advantage of it. Sloppy roads though.. forget about washing the car over the next few days.

    We stay mild over the next couple of days, then next system brings in snow later Wednesday into Thursday with a return to colder weather behind it. Snowfall forecasts from this next system vary from 2-5 cm from GFS model (US) to 5-10 cm from GDPS (Canadian) Euro is in between at about 5 cm. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this next system is an Alberta clipper that will be tracking across us while a Colorado low forms to the south. The two will then merge to our east and bomb into a major storm Thursday night into Friday over Lake Superior and Northern Ontario.

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  17. Rob, after the cold this weekend into early next week, do you see any warmups happening for us or are we going back into yet another prolonged period of well below normal temps?

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  18. I see Wednesday's forecasted high has changed dramatically from -3 earlier today to now - 8 with the afternoon forecast update.

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  19. There are hints that the west coast ridge coupled with the eastern trough will re-establish itself next week. Yikes, that spells trouble.

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  20. >> Anonymous said... Rob, after the cold this weekend into early next week, do you see any warmups happening for us or are we going back into yet another prolonged period of well below normal temps?

    Current indications are that we'll likely head back into a prolonged period of below normal temperatures into the beginning of March as the upper ridge becomes re-established over the west coast while the Arctic trof digs over Ontario/Great Lakes. That is pretty much the set up we've had much of the winter, with the occasional interruption now and then such as what we're having this week. But right now, no signs of a major pattern change towards prolonged above normal temperatures for us, at least over the next couple of weeks.

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  21. Just to give you some background info about what kind of spring we *may* expect based on the winter we've been having.

    Right now, our average temperature in Winnipeg this winter is close to a top 10 coldest winter since records began here in 1872. We're going to gain a few degrees this week, but overall we should finish up with a top 15 or so coldest winter (around -20C for the Dec-Feb period) which would make this the coldest winter here since 1978-79 (-20.8C).

    Now, if we go back and look at the March and Aprils following all those top 15 coldest winters, we get some telling stats. 13 out of 15 Marches were below normal, 1 was near normal, 1 was slightly above. The average March temperature following those 15 cold winters was -12C, or about 6C below 1981-2010 normals. April wasn't any better. Of the following 15 Aprils, 14 were below normal, 1 was near normal. None were above normal. The average temperature for those 15 Aprils was +0.4C, or about 4C below 1981-2010 normals.

    So based on past years, there is a strong likelihood that our spring this year will also be below normal. That's based on history. Now, there's a chance Mother Nature could throw us a complete curveball and flip things totally around this spring. We've seen that Mother Nature is becoming more and more prone to wild swings over the past few years. Will this be the case this spring? Or will she go with her predictable past? No one knows.. but if I was a betting man, it would be hard to go against those historical odds.

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  22. Rob Would this have any thing to do with the pattern following those great artic ice melts of 2007 and 2012. Each Seemed to be followed by a cold snowy winter and even later wetter 2 nd winter and as was mentioned a dry summer.

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  23. What's all that snow that Environment Canada is forecasting? 5 to 10 cm tomorrow night and snow and blowing snow on Thursday.

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  24. >> Paul said... What's all that snow that Environment Canada is forecasting? 5 to 10 cm tomorrow night and snow and blowing snow on Thursday.

    Paul.. Yep, another clipper on the way, with similar timing and amounts as Sunday night's system. Looks like snow will be spreading into Winnipeg/RRV by early Wednesday evening (6 pm-ish) then continuing Wed night tapering off early Thursday morning. Model concensus is for about 5-8 cm of snow for Winnipeg and the RRV, similar to Sunday night. Increasing northerly winds Thursday with falling temperatures.. leading to some blowing and drifting snow issues. Gee.. and they just finished plowing our street so nice! Can't get a break this year..

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  25. >> Anonymous said... Rob Would this have any thing to do with the pattern following those great artic ice melts of 2007 and 2012. Each Seemed to be followed by a cold snowy winter and even later wetter 2nd winter and as was mentioned a dry summer.

    Not sure, although there is some research that suggests loss of Arctic sea ice is leading to a "lazier" jet stream which is contributing to a greater frequency of "blocking" patterns in the atmosphere. That in turn results in longer spells of persistently warm, cold, dry or wet weather depending on which side of the jet stream you're on.

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  26. Paul.. I should add that model concensus on Wed night's system is for the bulk of the heaviest snow to track through the Riding Mtn and Interlake areas where 10 cm or more is possible into Thursday morning. Amounts will be less as you get towards the TransCanada corridor and south to the border with perhaps 5 cm more likely.

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  27. EC really came down on their snowfall forecast for tonight.. from 5-10 cm to just light snow now with no accumulations mentioned (implies amounts < 2 cm) Other models still suggesting 3-8 cm for Winnipeg tonight into Thursday. Bulk of the snowfall is still expected north of Winnipeg through the Riding Mtns and Interlake regions with 5-10+ cm, but I think Winnipeg is still in line for about 3-5 cm with this next system.

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