Sunday, February 11, 2018

Brief mid week warm up.. but generally below normal this week and next. Snow drought continues..

It's been a cold start to February across southern Manitoba, and it looks like the cold weather will persist through much of this week and next. There will be some brief warmups from time to time (such as this Wednesday), but overall, it looks like a below normal temperature pattern is expected across the Prairies through next week. As of Feb 10th, the average temperature at YWG airport has been -21.4C, about 6C below average for the first 10 days of the month.  It's been the 3rd coldest start to February in the past 20 years (only Feb 2007 and 2014 had colder starts) 

As for this week, it will be another cold start to the work week as temperatures drop to the -30C mark early Monday with winds of 10-15 km/h producing windchills near -40.  Highs of -16C are expected by afternoon, about 6C below the average high of -10C for this time of year. Temperatures will moderate to -5C by Tuesday but gusty SW winds of 30-50 km/h will make it feel colder. On Wednesday, a clipper system will track through the MB interlake area bringing a brief warmup to southern MB, with highs rising close to the freezing mark in Winnipeg by Wednesday afternoon. The mild spell will be short lived however as a trailing cold front pushes through in the afternoon, sending temperatures falling as strong northerly winds develop. Some snow and blowing snow will likely develop as well Wednesday afternoon and evening as the colder air spreads in. This will lead into another few days of colder than normal weather to end the week Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to moderate again next weekend, but again, the warmup looks short lived as colder weather returns for the third week of February. 

Precipitation-wise, new snowfall looks minimal again across southern MB. There may be a bit of snow with the Arctic front Wednesday (tr - 2 cm) but other than that, no significant precipitation is expected over southern MB through next weekend. As of Feb 10th, Winnipeg has seen only 52.8 cm of snow this winter.. its lowest snowfall to this point in the winter since the winter of 2011-12 (48 cm to Feb 10th) and the 2nd least snowfall to Feb 10th in at least 20 years. (On average, Winnipeg gets about 76 cm of snow by Feb 10th). Last winter, Winnipeg had seen 121 cm of snow by Feb 10th - over twice the amount this season - thanks in large part to the snowiest December in 58 years.  The meager snowfall this winter has boosted the city of Winnipeg's 2017 municipal budget surplus by another $6 million thanks to less than projected snowclearing operations.

13 comments:

  1. I don't know if anyone else can confirm but I took a quick glance at adding up precip over the last 10 years. Other than 2016 which saw just an average yearly amount (~520mm) every other year after 2010 saw below to well below normal precipitation. This seems like a long term dry cycle to me!

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    1. Just to add to this, wasn't last year like our driest year on record? We're going to need a serious correction or farmers are going to be in big trouble. With the year ending dry last year and minimal snow fall this year (areas to the southwest are almost snow free) things are looking bleak. A drought is much worse than a flood from an agricultural perspective. At least crop insurance covers some flood loss while it doesn't cover any loss from drought, if seeds can't even grow and flourish in the beginning of the growing season.

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    2. 2017 was the third driest year on record behind only 2006 and 1961. Yeah it’s been so anomalously dry this winter it’s really unbelievable. Not a good thing.

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    3. Yes, we had a dry year in 2017. Some of that has to do with the precip gauge at the YWG airport which undercatches snowfall and corresponding water equivalent. But precip was definitely below normal for the year. Keep in mind though, precip can be a highly variable thing over the Red River valley and southern MB.. 2016 was horribly wet over the southern RRV (such as in the Letellier area) There's also been some very wet conditions over parts of SW MB and the Interlake over the past few years. So dryness may not be as widespread as you would expect looking solely at Winnipeg numbers.

      That being said, it has been an exceptionally dry winter so far, and as you say.. we're coming off a dry year last year. If we don't see decent moisture over the next few weeks, it will indeed be a growing concern for farmers and forestry interests. But you know what the Prairies are like.. it doesn't take much to go from one extreme to the other.. and we can easily shift into a prolonged wet pattern fairly quickly. So I wouldn't hit the panic button just yet.. still a ways to go.

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  2. Another quiet week ahead with no weather systems on the horizon. This month has been one of the most boring months of weather I can recall.. literally nothing happening. I guess that’s better than crazy variability with frequent storms.. but cmon, throw us a bone Mother Nature! We haven’t had a snowfall of greater than 5 cm since early November! Or better yet, just get rid of this snow and let’s get on with an early spring!

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  3. Rob, what are actually our chances here in Southern Manitoba for an early Spring?

    Or will this below normal pattern that we are in right now continue into March?

    Thanks.

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    1. Looks like we get into a milder pattern this week into early March.. as the Arctic vortex loosens it’s grip over the Prairies. And judging by long range outlooks, the colder air masses should be mainly over western Canada through much of March.. which would put us into a more normal to slightly above normal pattern in southern Manitoba. But we’ll have to see if that warmup brings more snow than we’ve seen so far... which would delay the chances of an early spring.

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  4. How does next week look?
    Weather Network basically calling for snow everyday starting on the 28th.
    Looks like the most we have seen all winter.

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    1. Might see a dusting to 1 cm in Winnipeg Sunday night as storm system bypasses us to the southeast, but other than that.. snow chances are looking minimal next week.

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    2. Sorry.. meant Saturday night, not Sunday.

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  5. Wondering if there are any wind stats? Being outside every day all the time, this winter has seemed to be way stronger winds allot more frequently than I can ever remember.

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    1. I don’t have any detailed wind stats to say for sure.. but yes, there have been frequent days of wind that have made things feel colder. But without comparative wind stats for other years, I can’t say how it compares to normal.

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    2. My snow drifts tell me it has been windy. Surprising given the lack of snowfall.

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