Friday, January 25, 2008

Major winter storm likely Monday into Tuesday..

Things are looking favourable for a major winter storm to affect southern MB early next week with the potential for significant snow and strong winds Monday into Tuesday. A storm system is forecast to develop over Montana Sunday while a surge of Arctic air drives southward from Alberta. This injection of cold air will intensify the storm system Sunday night into Monday as it tracks into North Dakota with snow and blowing snow spreading over much of southern SK into western MB. The storm will intensify even further by Monday night as it tracks over Lake of the Woods, before moving into Northwest Ontario on Tuesday. On this track, snow and blowing snow would be spreading into Winnipeg and the Red River valley late Monday through Monday night into Tuesday morning with strong northerly winds gusting to 70 km/h or more. This could give widespread blizzard conditions over much of southern MB Monday into Tuesday with poor travelling conditions, along with road and school closures. Given how uneventful the weather has been here this month, this storm will certainly bear watching over the next few days as it has the potential to be the worst storm of the winter so far. Stay tuned!


  1. Rob, as always, thanks for the timely advanced warning. This is a valuable safety service.

    Chris in Westwood.

  2. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement involving this event. It sure is looking good on mslp maps!

  3. Looks to be a great event! Unfortunately with the snow we get the cold afterwards :).

  4. The track of this low is starting to become more consistent in models. A line from Montana through North Dakota and up to North-Western Ontario (Lake of the Woods) Area seems to be the most common solution. Snowfall amounts are slightly more shifty with anywhere from 5 to 20cm of snow predicted for Southern Manitoba.

    My prediction would be what Rob said 5-10cm of snow. The models keep shifting the max area of precip from Central Manitoba back through Southern Manitoba. What the models appear to be doing is either seperating or merging two dominant areas of moisture. One in the Interlake area and one through Central Minnesota. If these two areas merge Southern MB will get the heaviest snow, but if they don't we will get light to moderate snow, the interlake will get moderate to heavy snow and Minnesota will get a combination of snow, freezing rain, and maybe some rain in the south.

    Sorry for the run-on sentences!

    MSLP model data appear to be pretty constant in giving south-central Manitoba 20kt winds (sustained) although the actual winds will obviously be much higher, on the order of 30-40kts or 50 to 60km/h. With higher gusts. The very tight gradient between a strong low to our east and a dominant high to our west will create a huge pressure differential and therefore very strong winds!

  5. This one's still too early to call..

    The GFS model is showing two storm centers by Monday over southern Minnesota, the other over Lake of the Woods, each supporting two distinct areas of precipitation as Scott mentioned. These two storm centers then merge into a single storm near Thunder Bay by Tuesday morning. The net result of this scenario would be less snow for southern MB, but strong winds giving areas of blowing snow. Overall though, not too bad a storm for us.

    The Canadian GLB on the other hand is showing an intense single low centered around Fargo Monday evening moving towards International Falls by Tuesday morning with a scary central pressure of 973 mb and lots of snow over southern MB. If this is correct, we would have a full scale blizzard on our hands in Southern MB for Monday night into Tuesday.

    At this point, it's too early to say which model has the right idea. We'll have to see what the upcoming solutions suggest and how actual weather is developing, to see if there's a concensus one way or the another. Suffice to say we'll be watching this one closely!

  6. Pattern is finally shifting back to a more classic La Nina pattern... the upper ridge over Alberta and BC is finally weakening somewhat and retrograding over the pacific. We get into a southwest flow for the first time in a while...with very cold air extending thru the western prairies for a change.

    An extreme temperature gradient looks to be associated with the system... could even be freezing rain in Southern Manitoba if enough warm air gets pulled up by the low.

    The remainder of the extended period certainly looks a lot more active ... strong temperature gradient is advertised by the models over the Northern Plains. Potential is there for more dramatic temperature swings ... disturbances moving thru will be able to tap both arctic air and warm moist air form the south.