Thursday, November 29, 2007

Possible snowstorm south of the border this weekend

If you're planning on heading into the US for some cross border shopping this weekend.. be prepared for the potential of a snowstorm spreading into North Dakota and northern Minnesota Saturday into Saturday night. A Colorado low storm system is forecast to move across the central Plains into the Great Lakes this weekend, spreading an area of wintery precipitation over the northern Plains States. At this point, it appears the bulk of the snow will stay mainly south of the international border, but portions of southern MB especially along the US border will likely see some snow with this system. Places like Grand Forks, Fargo and northern/central Minnesota will likely bear the brunt of this storm with accumulations of 10 to 20 cm possible by Sunday morning. This is a developing storm system and it will bear watching, especially if you have travel plans into North Dakota or Minnesota this weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Snow spreading into Winnipeg this evening

Snow will be overspreading Winnipeg quickly this evening as a weather system approaches from the west. Radar at 7:30 pm shows the leading edge of the snow approaching southwest Winnipeg, moving to the northeast, which should spread across all of Winnipeg between 8 and 9 pm. Visibilities will lowering rapidly to 1 mile or less as the snow moves in. Due to the very cold temperatures, the snow will be quite fine and light, which will make it easy to drift and blow around if winds pick up. 3 to 5 cm of snow is expected by Wednesday morning with this system.. so be prepared for another slow commute into work tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Snow and cold on the way..

A little more snow on the way today.. Turning colder tonight. More snow Tuesday night.

A weak clipper system over southwest MB this morning will track across North Dakota today bringing an area snow across southern MB. The snow has spread into the Portage area as of 10 am and will move into Winnipeg by midday. About 2 cm of snow can be expected this afternoon before the snow ends, with poor visibility at times and locally slippery driving conditions especially south and west of Winnipeg where the snow may be heavier at times. As the snow ends later today, brisk northerly winds will develop bringing in a surge of colder air from central MB where temperatures are currently in the minus 20s.  Cold air will flood across southern MB tonight with wind chills dropping to the -30 range. Tuesday will start off clear and cold but another Alberta clipper system will spread cloud in during the day with another batch of snow developing from the west by afternoon. Look for this snow to spread into Winnipeg by Tuesday evening, with another 3 to 5 cm of snow likely Tuesday night into early Wednesday. As this system moves east, cold air will once again be reinforced across southern MB for the end of the week.  Like it or not.. winter has arrived in southern MB.   

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Get ready for some COLD weather this week!

Yikes.. I'm not liking what the upcoming week looks like over Southern MB. Very cold air will be flooding in by late Monday, and it looks like it'll be here for awhile.. at least through the end of the week, perhaps through next week as well. For today, southern MB will be under a frontal zone separating mild air to our south from frigid Arctic air to the north (lots of -30s this morning over Nrn MB and Nrn SK) Weak disturbances will move across this frontal zone today into tonight giving southern MB a few cm of snow through the period. (In fact, snow will be spreading into Winnipeg by 9 am or so this morning from the northwest with lowering visibilities) On Monday, the frontal zone is forecast to shift south of us, which will allow the cold air from the northern Prairies to begin flooding in. The cold air will be well entrenched over southern MB by Monday night with temperatures dropping into the minus 20s, and highs on Tuesday only in the minus teens. Little relief is expected the rest of the week, although it should remain generally snow free. After such a mild and tame start to winter, this upcoming cold weather will come as a bit of a shock to residents of southern MB used to the mild weather. Break out the heavy winter gear!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Where's the snow?

We had another light dusting of snow today in Winnipeg, but nothing much.. perhaps a cm or so. Snowfall has been quite meager so far this season, with only about 5 cm of snow so far this month. Average November snowfall in Winnipeg is around 21 cm so we are running well below normal with only one week left in the month and little in the way of major snowbearing systems in the long range outlook. However, this is on par for what's been happening over the past decade, with 9 of our past 10 Novembers recording below normal snowfall for the month. Looking back even further, there have been several Novembers in Winnipeg with minimal snowfall. Below is a list of the top 10 least snowy Novembers in Winnipeg since records began in 1872.

YEAR...........SNOWFALL (CM)

1928 .................... TR
1939 .............
...... 0.5
1987.................... 1.0
1901.................... 1.5
1976 ................... 1.5
1912 ................... 2.5
1981 ................... 2.5
1916 ................... 2.8
1982 ................... 3.2
1913 ................... 4.1
1961 ...................

So does this slow start to the snow season mean anything for December? Well, if we look at the top 20 least snowy Novembers in Winnipeg, 14 (70%) were followed by below normal snowfall in December, 4 (20%) had near normal snowfall, and only 2 (10%) had above normal snowfall in December. So, based solely on this crude analog method, history would suggest that snowfall this December will likely also be below normal. But before you put away the snow shovel.. remember that each year is different, and there is no guarantee this correlation will work this year. It only takes one major storm to skew the statistics. Also, of the years noted above, only one year since 1950 was a La Nina year (1961).. and that year December had above normal snowfall. I merely present these stats for what they are.. interesting but not necessarily a reliable predictor for this year. As they say in the mutual fund business.. Past performance does not guarantee future results :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A cold night..

It's definitely feeling more like winter out there with the coldest weather in Winnipeg since last March. Highs today didn't climb above -7C and for tonight, temperatures are forecast to drop to a bone-chilling -19C. This would make it Winnipeg's coldest temperature since March 7.. over 8 months ago. And it looks like the cold weather will last for awhile, with below normal temperatures expected over the next week or two. Hard to believe that just last week, we were enjoying 17C temperatures! Still not a lot of snow on the horizon yet, but with these colder temperatures, it's only a matter of time!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NOAA releases updated winter outlook

NOAA has released their final update of the winter outlook for the 2007-08 season.. and it continues to show a greater than even chance of warmer and drier than normal conditions over the southern US thanks to a developing La Nina. For Manitoba and the southern Prairies, the jury is still out as to what kind of winter we're going to have.. with no clear signal either way of how the winter will evolve. See my earlier post on the winter outlook for more details on how things may evolve for Southern MB this winter.

Updated warning page

I've updated my warning page to highlight weather warnings and watches more easily over southern MB. Clicking on the warning icon on the main page will access this page. It includes links to the actual text of the message which is sometimes slow to update on the Weatheroffice website.. especially in times of rapidly changing severe summer weather. Links to American warnings are also displayed.

Speaking of warnings.. a freezing rain warning has been issued for southwest MB this morning. A band of freezing rain and wet snow has moved into southwest MB from Saskatchewan and will affect those areas for a couple of hours this morning. The precipitation band is expected to move into Winnipeg and the Red River valley by midday. By that time, our temperatures should be above freezing so the precipitation should fall as rain or wet snow. However if our temperatures are still near or below freezing by that time, a brief period of freezing rain is also possible here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Updated Webcam Page

Just a note to let you know I have updated my webcam page to include a couple of new webcam images.. including St Andrews Airport just north of Winnipeg, a yard in East St Paul (north end of Winnipeg), and a webcam from Strathclair out in western MB just to the south of the Riding Mtns near Clear Lake. Webcams are great tools to monitor local weather conditions, and to see how that snowfall is progressing outside our little part of the world!

Some wet snow Sunday?

A warm front is forecast to push across Southern MB on Sunday which will spread an area of wet snow and rain ahead of it. For Winnipeg, it looks like the precipitation will start off in the morning as a period of wet snow that will change to rain before ending in the afternoon. Current forecasts call for up to 5 cm of snow in Winnipeg, but this seems a little on the high side for this situation. I've been noticing that the GEM model, which drives the local forecast, has been overdoing snow amounts with warm fronts over southern MB so far this season, at least here in Winnipeg. Typically, we don't get a lot of snow with warm fronts, as the band of precipitation is usually fairly narrow and moves through quickly which limits snowfall accumulation. In addition, we have southerly winds tomorrow which will bring above freezing temperatures in the lowest layers fairly quickly. As a result, I expect perhaps 1 or 2 cm of wet snow at most Sunday morning that will melt off in the afternoon as temperatures rise above freezing.

Whatever the case, this won't be a major snowstorm and snowlovers are getting anxious for a good snow to develop here in southern MB. The ground is still bare, and in many areas the grass is still green indicating ground temperatures are still above freezing. And long range models are not indicating any major snowbearing systems through next week over southern MB. Things can change of course, but at this point, it appears that November 2007 is following the trend of most of our winters over the past decade.. a slow start with below normal snowfall to start off the season. Could this be our new normal?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Record high!

Winnipeg has hit a record 17C today.. eclipsing the former daily high of 16.3 set back in 1999. We are currently the warmest spot in the country and it's only 11am!  But a cold front will push through by the lunch hour, and temperatures will begin sliding down this afternoon, while winds will be picking up from the west, with gusts to 80 km/h or more this afternoon. Watch out for flying garbage cans! 

Monday, November 12, 2007

Marvelous Monday almost sets record

It was a beautiful Nov 12th over Southern MB, with sunshine and a balmy southwest breeze sending temperatures into the teens across the area. Today's high in Winnipeg was a balmy 12.8C, nearly beating the daily record high of 13.2C set in 1981. These temperatures were more typical of early October than mid November, which now averages around the freezing mark for "normal" highs. The lack of snow and still warm ground has made it easier for mild air to surface, and it's still hard to believe that it's really mid November out there. The grass is still green, and it just doesn't feel like winter will be here anytime soon. But don't be fooled.. this is southern Manitoba.. and things can change quickly!

Speaking of which.. there will be a change in the weather over the next few days, although the main story will be winds, not snow. A deep storm system moving across the northern Prairies will draw strong southerly winds to 60 km/h over southern MB Tuesday morning, shifting to strong westerly winds to 70 km/h or higher in the afternoon as a cold front moves through. Temperatures will once again be very mild Tuesday with highs peaking around 13C by midday.. but then watch for falling temperatures by Tuesday night as colder air moves in from the west. Strong northwest winds will continue Tuesday night through Wednesday along with temperatures near freezing. There could be some flurries Tuesday night and Wednesday, but at this point, there's still no signs of a significant snowfall over southern MB over the next week or so.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strong winds Tuesday and Wednesday

It was a windy afternoon today in Southern MB, and after diminishing tonight, it looks like strong winds will once again develop this week.. (hey, it's the Prairies in the winter, what else is new? ;)) especially Tuesday and Wednesday. But first, we'll start the week on a nice note on Monday as mild weather continues, along with plenty of sunshine and fairly light winds (southwest 20 km/h) This should get temperatures up to the 10C mark once again... nice enough for one last golf game on any course still open. By Tuesday, a deep low pressure system tracking through the northern Prairies will bring a strong southerly flow over Southern MB, especially up the Red River valley where gusts may hit 70 km/h. Winds will gradually shift into the west by Tuesday evening as cooler air moves in, with strong northwest winds and colder temperatures for Wednesday. Lighter winds but cool conditions are expected to close off the week for Thursday and Friday.

Mild Remembrance Day

Temperatures have risen up to the 10C mark in Winnipeg as of noon today, with a few hours of sunshine and gusty west winds allowing temperatures to climb. It won't be a record breaker (14.8C in 1987 is Winnipeg's mildest Remembrance Day on record) but it will be some 10 degrees above above normal for today. The main story for this afternoon will be the gusty west winds, which will gust to 60 or 70 km/h today as cooler air and clouds spread in from the west. (Brandon currently gusting to 74 km/has of noon) As a result, look for those temperatures to gradually slide this afternoon down into the 5C range by sunset.

Friday, November 09, 2007

More snow tonight?

A warm front is forecast to move across southern MB overnight bringing a band of snow ahead of it. At this point, it appears most of the snow will once again stay mainly north of Winnipeg - much like Thursday night - with a few cm possible across the Riding Mtns through the interlake and Whiteshell areas. Winnipeg may see a few flurries overnight into Saturday morning, but accumulations should be minimal. By Saturday afternoon gusty southerly winds will usher in milder air over Winnipeg with temperatures rising to +4C. Even milder conditions are expected for Sunday with highs near +7C, however there could be a few morning showers giving way to brisk westerly winds by the afternoon.

Rare thundersnow hits Winnipeg Thursday night

A rare occurrence of "thundersnow" occurred in Winnipeg last night as a weather system tracked across Southern MB, bringing the season's first general snowfall mainly north and east of Winnipeg. Around 11:45 pm a band of wet snow was moving through Winnipeg when a sudden flash of lightning generated a very loud thunderclap that some people mistook for an explosion. I was awoken by the thunder myself, and it was as loud as any close by summertime lightning strike, yet it was +1 and snowing at the time. I didn't see the flash, but many people reported one. Data from the lightning detector network indicates that the strike hit somewhere near the Eldridge/Oakdale area of Charleswood and generated 104,000 amps of electricity, which is a very powerful stroke. (normal lightning strikes generate about 20-40,000 amps) Note that this was the only strike recorded last night.. almost like the cloud built up all this static electricity, then released it all at once right over Charleswood! By the way, thunder is very rare around these parts during the cold season, with only 4 official occurrences between November and March in the last 50 years at Winnipeg Airport.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A little snow on the way tonight?

A weak system over Saskatchewan is forecast to spread an area of snow into southern MB today which will move into the Winnipeg area by this afternoon or evening.  Radar shows some light snow moving into western MB from Saskatchewan this morning.  The snow will likely be melting on contact with the ground by the time it reaches Winnipeg as temperatures will be above freezing. There's even a chance the precipitation will mix with light rain if temperatures get warm enough (around +3 or +4C) For tonight, temperatures should remain steady near the freezing/melting point, so any snow that falls will likely be melting however we could see a slushy accumulation of 1 or 2 cm mainly on grassy surfaces tonight. There's a better chance of some accumulating snow north of Winnipeg through the Interlake areas where temperatures will be a little cooler and the main precipitation axis is forecast. The system is expected to exit southern MB overnight with drier conditions for Friday.  

Saturday, November 03, 2007

First snowfall arriving Sunday?

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, it looks like Winnipeg and much of Southern MB may be seeing the first general snowfall of the season by Sunday night. An Alberta clipper system will track across southern MB on Sunday bringing an area of snow with it. Precipitation will move into western Manitoba from Saskatchewan Sunday morning, reaching Winnipeg by afternoon. Precipitation in Winnipeg may start off as a mix of rain and wet snow at first, but will change to all snow by evening as colder air moves in. The snow may fall heavily for a time Sunday evening before ending overnight. Accumulations of 2 to 5 cm are possible, but some of that will melt due to the still warm ground. Colder air will sweep in behind the system Sunday night into Monday, with temperatures falling below freezing. As a result, there could be some icy driving conditions for early Monday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Noel strengthens to hurricane status - heading towards Nova Scotia

Tropical storm Noel strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Thursday evening with maximum sustained winds of 70 kt (130 km/h) The storm, which has lashed the Caribbean and Bahamas with heavy rain and deadly flooding, is moving northward and will continue up the Gulf Stream heading towards Nova Scotia this weekend. The storm is expected to lose its hurricane status on Friday as it heads north, but it will evolve into a large intense "extra-tropical" storm system that is forecast to make a direct hit on southwest Nova Scotia late Saturday. The storm will bring powerful winds to Nova Scotia Saturday into Saturday night, with near hurricane force winds possible especially along the Atlantic shoreline with damage possible to trees and power lines. Heavy rain is also likely especially to the west of the storm track over New Brunswick. This will be an interesting storm to monitor over the next few days, as the remnants of Noel track across the Maritimes.

Some links to monitor the progress of Noel..

NOAA Hurricane Center
Canadian Hurricane Center
Halifax Radar
Boston Radar
Cape Cod Weather
Halifax Herald

First taste of winter moving in next week..

Get ready for our first blast of cold air this season by early next week. A developing low pressure system over the Pacific will move across southern AB and track across the southern Prairies Sunday into Sunday night. This system will bring cold northwest winds behind it which will sweep across southern MB Sunday night into Monday. The cold air will be well entrenched across southern MB Monday and Tuesday with daily highs struggling to get above freezing, along with cold northwest winds. In addition guidance suggests this system has the potential to bring the season's first accumulating snow across southern MB Sunday night depending on the eventual track of this system. Models bring an east-west swath of snow anywhere from North Dakota through central MB, with local amounts of 5 cm possible.

Dry but cool weather is expected through the middle of next week before a potential for another snowfall late next week into next weekend. Looks like winter will finally be making an appearance next week over Southern MB!