Thursday, August 30, 2007

Summer's last hurrah?

Looks like a nice stretch of summerlike weather coming up to cap off the last unofficial weekend of summer. Balmy southwest winds and sunshine are boosting temperatures into the upper 20s today over southern MB, and we will likely be hitting the 30 degree mark Friday and Saturday before a cold front moves through Saturday night. Sunday will be a little cooler with highs in the low to mid twenties, but with sunshine and light winds, it should still be a nice day. A system passing through the Dakotas threatens a few showers by holiday Monday. All in all though, it looks like a nice end to summer!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

CWB sites added

I've added a link to get real time weather data from the new Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) weather network that has recently been launched in collaboration with Weatherbug. The stations can be found in a drop down list under the "CWB sites" link to the right of the precipitation comparison section on my main home page (under "other sites") Note that CWB also has a interactive map plot that plots CWB and EC weather sites in real time. This link can also be found under my "LINKS" drop down menu under "CWB sites".

This new CWB network of weather stations will be growing significantly over the next couple of years, with the goal of several hundred stations being set up across the Prairies at local agriculture sites, farms, schools, etc. See previous blog entry for further details on this initiative.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Severe thunderstorms erupt south and east of Winnipeg

A cold front pushing through Southern MB triggered a line of severe thunderstorms Sunday evening just south and east of Winnipeg. It was a warm and humid day Sunday with temperatures climbing to 29C and dewpoints of 20C.. the warmest and muggiest day in a couple of weeks. This airmass provided the fuel for powerful thunderstorms to develop late in the day along a cold front moving in from the west. Toonie to golf ball size hail was reported with some of the storms as well as wind gusts to 100 km/h and a report of a funnel cloud south of Beasujour. The storms just missed hitting Winnipeg, with the cold front coming through dry here. However the impressive thunderstorm cells could easily be seen from the city, with majestic towering cumulonimbus tops rising to 50000 feet just 30 km away to the southeast.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Feels like fall..

With grey skies and temperatures only in the teens, it's beginning to feel a lot like fall out there these days. After a steamy second half of July, August has been lacking in summer heat.. with only one day hitting the 30c mark (Aug 9th) Much of this month has seen temperatures near or slightly below normal, and the outlook looks like more of the same. The exception will be this weekend when temperatures are expected to climb to normal mid 20 values by Sunday. However, the warmup will be short lived as cooler air moves in by Monday, with below normal temperatures likely most of next week. In fact, long range guidance is suggesting much of southern MB may be seeing frost by next Wednesday or Thursday. After that, we're into September which can still have nice warm days, however any prolonged spells of heat appear to be over for 2007.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dean slams into Mayan coast

Here's a great satellite image showing the eye of Category 5 Dean hitting the sparsely populated southern Yucatan coast just around 4:30am EDT near the port city of Majahual, Mexico, about 40 miles north of Chetumal, Mexico, a city of 130,000 just north of the Belize-Mexico border. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were near 165 mph with gusts approaching 200 mph. Dean became the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall since Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992. At 906 mb, Dean was also the third lowest pressure at landfall behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys and Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 in Cancun Mexico.

As bad as this storm was, it could have been a lot worse had the storm come ashore about 100 miles north which would have caused billions of dollars in damage to the many resorts around Cozumel and Cancun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dean approaching Jamaica..

Latest radar images from southern Cuba show the eye of Dean approaching Jamaica from the southeast. It appears that the eye is moving almost due west, which if that trend continues, will be good news for the city of Kingston as the core of the strongest winds in the vicinity of the eyewall will stay over the ocean just south of the city. There will still be very strong winds and damage to Kingston, but not as catastrophic had the eye passed over the city or just to its west. (see latest METAR obs from Kingston.) The southern coastline of Jamaica west of Kingston however may not be as lucky, as they may encounter the northern fringes of the eyewall and strongest winds. Should be interesting to see what happens over the next few hours..

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dean getting mean..

Look out.. Dean is up to a category 4 and latest hurricane hunter reports estimate max winds now up to 145 mph.. just 10 mph short of Cat 5 status. And there's nothing to stop this monster from getting even stronger over the next day or so as it heads towards Jamaica. Could be a major disaster there if this thing continues on its current track. After that, Dean is forecast to track towards the Yucatan Peninsula, then out over the Gulf of Mexico before making final landfall near the Texas/Mexico border (although there is still high uncertainty where this final landfall will be) Dean will be a major newsmaker over the next week or so. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New weather monitoring initiative announced

From the Winnipeg Free Press - A network of 600 private weather stations is expected to spring up on the Prairies within the next three years, providing invaluable information to farmers, grain merchants, flood forecasters -- and likely Environment Canada itself.

The new weather network, launched Wednesday by U.S.-based WeatherBug in partnership with the Canadian Wheat Board and James Richardson International (JRI), will provide clients with more localized weather information -- from temperature and wind speed to humidity and precipitation -- that will be updated every five seconds.

WeatherBug president Bob Marshall said Wednesday's launch, at a research farm owned by JRI just south of Winnipeg, is the first step in building a national network of more than 1,000 stations that will benefit farmers, schools, emergency managers, businesses and media outlets. "We have the technology to revolutionize the way weather information is gathered and shared in Canada," said Marshall, whose company operates 8,000 weather stations in the United States.

Click here for complete article.

Other links...
CWB weather station project website
CWB station map plot
Real time weather data from CWB rooftop station (includes webcam)

This is great news... a bold new private sector initiative to get lots of real time weather monitoring stations on the ground. This will help provide invaluable mesoscale weather information to fill in the gaps in Environment Canada's limited (and possibly shrinking) network of surface stations. The biggest benefit from this type of expanded network will be the ability to monitor real time rainfall measurements to the forecast and agricultural community, but local effects with wind and tempertaure will also be valuable information. Great to see! By the way, I see some of those Weatherbug weather stations are actually rebranded Davis Vantage Pro stations (which is what I have).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A taste of fall..

Enjoy the pleasant afternoon in Winnipeg.. because a cold front is approaching from the northwest with much cooler and windy conditions behind it. Temperatures behind the front in central MB are only around 14C with gusty northwest winds to 50 or 60 km/h. This front should be pushing through Winnipeg by late afternoon, so be prepared for a noticeably cooler and windy evening coming up! The front will usher in a fall like airmass that will be over southern MB for the next few days before a warmup over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some rain tonight.. for some..

A narrow band of rain is developing between Brandon and Dauphin and this band is expected to spread east through the night giving areas mainly north of Winnipeg about 10 to 15 mm of rain. Hopefully this band can settle south a bit and give some much needed rain to south Winnipeg where it's been very dry over the past 4 weeks, with only 3.6 mm of rain at my site so far this month. North Winnipeg has seen more rain thanks to some heavy thunderstorm activity over the past week or so that has dropped 20 to 40 mm of rain in those areas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Flossie approaching Hawaii

Well, Hawaii and hurricanes are about as far as you can get from Manitoba weather, but our weather has been fairly quiet lately, so I thought I'd post some information on Flossie and the upcoming hurricane season. Flossie is still a strong F4 hurricane, even though it's approaching cooler ocean waters and more wind shear in the area. This has prompted a hurricane watch for the islands of Hawaii, with the storm expected to pass just south of the big island of Hilo. Should be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days with this one.

This brings us to the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season which should become more active in the next few weeks. NOAA is still predicting an above average year for tropical storms, with 7-9 hurricanes predicted, 3-5 which could be categorized as major (at least Cat 3). As of today, a new tropical wave has developed off the African coast which could become the season's 4th named storm (Dean) over the next few days. For good information on what's developing in the tropics, I highly recommend Weather Underground's tropical website, and Dr Jeff Master's blog to keep abreast of the latest developments regarding tropical storm activity.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Severe storms slam Southern MB..

Strong long lived thunderstorms developed over east central Saskatchewan Thursday afternoon and tracked southeastward into the Lake of The Woods area by daybreak on Friday. These storms generated a large swath of golfball and larger hail from east central Saskatchewan into west central Manitoba late Thursday afternoon and evening then transformed into more severe winds as they continued tracking southeast from Lake Manitoba through Winnipeg and finally into the Lake of The Woods area during the overnight hours. The hail caused significant crop damage and several reports of windows smashed in houses and cars over west central Manitoba. (image shows sample of baseball size hail that fell in Dauphin)

The following are the preliminary severe events in Manitoba reported to Environment Canada up to 4 AM Friday.

Time of event location of event event type and comments
============= ================= =======================
4:05 PM .... Narol - Nickel sized hail
4:23 PM ..... pine ridge golf course - loonie sized hail
4:24 PM ..... Oakbank - Nickel sized hail
6:30 PM ..... 6 km west of San Clara - golfball sized hail
8:05 PM ..... Roblin - golfball sized hail
8:15 PM ..... 32 km nw of Dauphin - loonie sized hail
8:33 PM ..... Dauphin - 56 mm of rain in just over one hour.
8:44 PM ..... Dauphin - baseball sized hail. Extensive damage to cars, buildings and crops. Virtually every roof and car left outside in Dauphin suffered hail damage. Hail damage will likely exceed $50M. One of the most severe storms ever to affect area.
8:50 PM ... 8km south of Grandview - hen-egg sized hail.
9:20 PM .... Gilbert Plains - loonie sized hail.
9:35 PM .... Ste. Rose - Nickel sized hail.
10:15 PM ... 7 km east of Alonsa - golfball sized hail.
11:50 PM ... Delta beach - wind gust to 117 km/h.
1:15 to 1:30 AM .... Winnipeg - numerous reports of nickel to loonie sized hail and strong winds. Winnipeg airport had peak wind gusts of 100 km/h. Northern half of city was most affected with many trees down. One of the "top 10" storms for tree damage according to city forester. About 30 mm of rain fell over the north end of the city while areas south of Portage Ave received little or no rain.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A little rain on the way..

An area of rain over southwest MB is spreading into the Red River valley this afternoon, and should move into the Winnipeg area by mid to late afternoon. Rainfall amounts of 5-10 mm have been recorded over southwest MB, but amounts will likely be less over the Winnipeg area as the rainfall area weakens as it moves east. However there could be locally heavier amounts with some embedded thunderstorms that are possible this evening and tonight. It's been quite dry in Winnipeg since mid July, with only one main rain event over the past 3 weeks when 15-25 mm of rain fell during a heavy thunderstorm on July 25th. Soil moisture is quickly drying up, as evident by the cracking soil around my house. So a little rain would be most welcome..

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

July 2007 Highlights

Seasonable first half.. hot and dry second half..

July 2007 was marked by a distinct split personality.. the first half of the month featured generally normal temperatures and rainfall with no major extremes. The second half of the month however was marked by very hot and humid conditions and a lack of rainfall, with 2 heat waves to end the month that saw temperatures in the mid 30s and humidex values in the mid 40s. From the 17th to the 31st, the mean temperature at my location was 24C, some 4 degrees above normal. This compares to the first two weeks of the month which averaged a normal 20C. The result was a month that finished about two degrees above normal, but was considerably biased by the warm second half. The average high temperature in the last two weeks was a sizzling 31.3c, thanks to 8 days of 30+ temperatures, including a 35c reading on July 25th that was accompanied by Winnipeg's hottest humidex on record.. 48C thanks to a dewpoint of 26C at the time. The same day saw Carman, MB set a national humidex record of 53C thanks to an incredible 30c dewpoint.

Rainfall for the month was generally near normal with about 70 mm at my location (60 mm at Winnipeg airport). However, the rain was mainly concentrated in the first half of the month, with about 50 mm in the first two weeks spread over 5 or 6 rain events. The second half of the month saw only one rain event, when about 20-25 mm of rain fell during thunderstorms on the 25th that brought an end to the month's first heat wave. The hot dry weather has started to produce heat stress in area crops with depleting soil moisture, a considerable change from the wet conditions experienced during May and June.

All in all.. a sizzling end to a warm July.

Aaaaah-gust starts on refreshing note..

After another 3 days of high heat and humidity with dewpoints in the low to mid twenties, a cold front pushed through southern MB early this morning ushering in a much more comfortable airmass to start the month of August. Northwest winds are bringing in much drier air from the west, with dewpoints down to 10C over western Manitoba and single digits over Saskatchewan. This will result in much more comfortable conditions for the next few days with seasonably warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Long range models are indicating generally above normal temperatures for the first half of August over the southern Prairies with no signs yet of a major pattern change towards cooler or wetter conditions.