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.