Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekend outlook

It will be a fairly nice weekend over southern MB this weekend, although brisk winds at times and more cloud cover will make it less pleasant than last weekend when sunny skies and light winds gave ideal conditions for outdoor activities. For this weekend, milder air will try returning on Saturday, but gusty southerly winds and cloud cover will make it feel colder, with temperatures gradually climbing towards the freezing mark by evening. Saturday night should be mild with light winds although a frontal trof crossing southern MB may give a period of light snow to the Red River valley with one or 2 cm possible. Sunday will start off pleasant with mild temperatures (zero to -3c) and light winds. However a cold front will push through by afternoon, bringing increasing northwest winds and falling temperatures in the afternoon and evening.

Monday will be cold with light winds before another Alberta clipper moves through on Tuesday bringing another threat of snow.. possibly 5 cm to southern MB. Colder air will follow in the wake of this system for Wednesday through Friday of next week, with much below normal temperatures. Winter ain't over yet folks..

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The week ahead

Today and Wednesday should be dry and seasonable across southern MB with occasional sunshine and near normal temperatures. On Thursday an Alberta clipper system is forecast to track across the Interlake bringing a threat of snow to the south (maybe a couple of cm) with a better chance of accumulating snow through the Interlake and central MB. Drier and briefly colder air will move in for Friday before another more intense Alberta clipper system moves across southern MB over the weekend. This system will likely bring another bout of snowfall to southern MB (perhaps 5 cm or so?) over the weekend with a return to colder weather behind the system by Monday of next week.. thanks to yet another dreaded Arctic high from the Yukon pushing a new surge of Arctic air across the Prairies. This will likely result in below normal temperatures for the first week of March..      

Monday, February 25, 2008

Currently -18 in Winnipeg..or is it?

Quite the difference between the temperature at the Winnipeg airport and everyone else in the city this morning. While the airport was reporting a chilly -18C as of 8 am, most other reporting sites in the city were a good 5 degrees warmer at the same time, with values around the -12 to -13C mark. So if you thought it didn't really feel like -18c out there this morning, you're right. Once again, a light northwest drainage flow has allowed temperatures at the airport site to drop quite a bit more than most areas of the city. In fact, even areas outside the city were only around -13 to -15C mark which shows how localized this pocket of cold air is at the Winnipeg airport.. a common occurrence in situations with clear skies and light northwest winds, especially with snow on the ground.       

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nice weekend over southern MB

After another cold week, it looks like southern MB will be rewarded with a nice weekend, with near normal temperatures, no precipitation, and best of all, little wind!  That should allow residents of southern MB to shake off some of the cabin fever that has settled in over the past two or three weeks due to virtually continuous below normal temperatures and high windchills. The weather this weekend should be ideal to enjoy winter time activities including the Festival du Voyageur, skating at the Forks, or simply taking a walk outside without fear of frostbite.  And it looks like the break from the cold will continue into early next week before a possible cooldown by mid week.. but let's enjoy these next few days before we worry about that!       

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clear cold conditions greet lunar eclipse

It was a clear and cold evening in Winnipeg for tonight's lunar eclipse, with temperatures of -26C and southerly winds of 30 km/h producing a wind chill near -40. Not the most ideal night to be outside, but the sky was nice and clear to view the eclipse between 8 and 10 pm. Here's a nice shot of the moon in total eclipse mode taken from downtown Winnipeg tonight..

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another cold snap.. then milder by week's end

After an all too brief respite from the cold Saturday, frigid Arctic air has returned to southern MB.  And if you though today was cold, wait for tomorrow when an even colder shot of Arctic air (if that's possible) will be flooding into Southern MB along with bitter windchills. Temperatures will struggle to -27C through the day Tuesday, and north winds of 30 to 40 km/h will result in windchills of -45 much of the day.  Yuk.. I thought we were through with this stuff.

The below normal temperatures will persist into Thursday but then a warming trend is expected by the end of the week, as this cold Arctic airmass pushes east, and we get a milder Pacific airmass moving in from the west. The good news is that once this mild airmass moves in, it should last for a few days (through the weekend into early next week).. not just one afternoon!   

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here comes the mild air!

A warm front lies just to the west of Winnipeg this morning with temperatures near or above freezing from the western Red River valley to the SK border, including 0C at Dauphin and +2C in Boissevain. Southerly winds ahead of the front continue to maintain cold temperatures in the Red River valley with temperatures only near -10 in Winnipeg this morning. Just to our west however, temperatures have risen to -1C in Morden and 0c in Austin (west of Portage) where winds have shifted into the southwest behind the front. This warm front is expected to move through the Red River valley this afternoon, with westerly winds tapping mild air to the west and sending temperatures up to the freezing mark, or even above in some areas. Southerly winds are notorious for trapping cold air in the Red River valley during the winter.. we need a westerly flow here to scour out that cold valley air.

As for precipitation, freezing rain is falling in areas west and southwest of Winnipeg early this morning, with snow and ice pellets here in the city (only about 1 or 2 cm worth) This area of precipitation should move off this morning leaving dry and milder conditions for the afternoon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Roller coaster weather

A progressive weather pattern shaping up will bring more variable weather conditions to southern MB over the next week, with a roller coaster pattern of temperature swings. After another frigid cold snap this week, it looks like we'll have a significant, albeit brief, warmup for Winnipeg and southern MB on Saturday as a low pressure system crosses just north of Winnipeg through the interlake area. This system will bring in some snow, with 2 to 5 cm possible generally south of the TransCanada, and higher amounts of 5 to 10 cm north of Winnipeg through the Interlake areas. Gusty south winds accompanying the snow will also produce blowing and drifting snow especially through the Red River valley with poor visibilities at times. As a result, be prepared for  poor travelling conditions Saturday.   

As for temperatures.. don't let that forecast high of 0C for Saturday fool you. Gusty southerly winds will make it feel considerably colder, especially in the morning when temperatures will still be in the minus teens, and snow and blowing snow will make it blustery.  Temperatures will gradually moderate in the afternoon reaching minus 5 or so by late day. In the evening, winds will shift into the northwest, and we will briefly tap some milder air from the west with temperatures climbing towards the freezing mark Saturday evening, before cooling off again Saturday night.  Temperatures are expected to drop to below normal values again for Sunday and Monday, but not as cold as the current cold snap.  Another Alberta clipper is expected to bring moderating temperatures and some snowfall on Tuesday, before a trend towards milder temperatures (near to above normal) moves in by the end of the week.  A roller coaster week coming up!  

Monday, February 11, 2008

Milder weather by weekend??

After a brief respite today and tomorrow, frigid Arctic air is poised to return to southern MB by Wednesday which will persist into the end of the week. The good news is that long range models are finally indicating a pattern shift towards milder weather developing over southern MB this weekend continuing into next week.  The transition to the milder temperatures will be marked by strong southerly winds developing ahead of the warmer air mass Friday night into Saturday, along with a threat of accumulating snow. This may produce a period of poor visibilities in snow and blowing snow before things improve by Saturday afternoon or evening. Temperatures are then expected to average closer to normal values much of next week, with "normal" highs now rising towards the -8C mark. Let's hope so.. I'm getting tired of this cold weather!       

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Weather Update

Blizzard conditions have improved quickly this morning across much of southern MB, however blowing and drifting snow remains a problem in open areas.. with poor highway conditions reported across many MB highways. Highway 75 and the TransCanada remain closed this morning while travel is not advised on many other routes.

Here in Winnipeg, we got about 2 cm of new snow last night.. with the airport reporting blizzard conditions for a couple of hours overnight. Looks like the southern Red River valley received the worst of this system with Emerson reporting gusts to 80 km/h and zero visibility for a few hours early this morning.

Attention now turns to windchill today as those gusty northwest winds will continue all day while temperatures remain in the mid minus 20s.. resulting in extreme windchill values of -40 to -45. Frostbite is possible within 10 minutes of exposure in conditions like these. Bad timing for anyone planning outdoor activities today, including the folks down in Winkler for the CBC hockey tournament. But then I'm sure Grapes will be saying this is good Canadian hockey weather that toughens up our kids!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Blizzard conditions likely overnight through Saturday morning

A blizzard warning has been issued for the Red River Valley including Winnipeg due to the expected development of highs winds and poor visibilities in blowing snow overnight into Saturday. An Arctic cold front marking the leading edge of much colder air pushing into AB and western SK this afternoon will push eastward into southern MB tonight. The front is expected to move into southwest MB this evening, reaching Winnipeg around 3 am or so.  The front will be accompanied by a band of snow, lasting 3 or 4 hours, giving possible snowfall accumulations of 2 to 5 cm tonight. Although there will not be a lot of new snow with this system, strong northwest winds of 50 to 70 km/h developing behind the front will create widespread poor visibilities in blowing snow. Blizzard conditions will result for several hours tonight into Saturday morning with visibilities of 400 meters or less especially in open areas. The extent and duration of blizzard conditions will depend on how much new snow falls tonight, but at this point enough loose snow is expected to warrant a blizzard warning. Conditions should gradually improve Saturday as the snow tapers off, however strong northwest winds gusting to 70 km/h will persist through the day giving extreme windchill values of minus 40 to minus 45 through the day. In addition, blowing and drifting snow will still be a problem is open areas outside the city. As a result, expect poor traveling conditions throughout the Red River valley on Saturday with possible road closures.  Note that a similar situation to this system on the night of January 28th-29th resulted in several highway closures over southern MB including the TransCanada and Highway 75.  Only a trace to 1 cm of new snow fell with that system.       

To emphasize, this will not be a paralyzing blizzard with lots of deep snow. Rather it will be a storm bringing high winds, sharply colder temperatures and enough new snow that will give blizzard conditions for several hours tonight into Saturday morning, especially in open areas outside the city. 

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another Arctic blast this weekend..

Another blast of Arctic air will be flooding into Southern Manitoba, unfortunately just in time for the weekend. A strong Arctic high over the Yukon will build southward into the Prairies on Friday, driving frigid air across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Strong northwest winds will push the leading edge of this Arctic airmass into southwestern MB late Friday reaching Winnipeg and the Red River valley Friday night. The cold front will be accompanied by some light snow with 1-2 cm possible Friday night. The strong northwest winds and falling temperatures will combine with any loose snow to give extensive drifting and blowing snow Friday night into early Saturday morning, with poor visibilities likely in open areas. This situation is similar to one early last week that brought a few hours of blizzard conditions to southern MB, and led to numerous highway closures. The extent and duration of poor visibilities will be determined by the amount of new snow, if any, that falls Friday night. Note that poor visibilities in blowing snow will be widespread across southern SK Friday as the cold air and strong winds move in.

Conditions will be improving across the Red River valley for Saturday with clearing skies, however brisk northwest winds and cold temperatures will produce high windchill values. Sunday will see lighter winds and below normal temperatures under the Arctic ridge. Temperatures are expected to slowly moderate next week as the Arctic airmass moves east allowing periodic clipper systems to move across the Prairies.

Friday, February 01, 2008

January 2008 climate summary

Mild first half.. Cold second half.. Little snow overall. (Click here for detailed stats from my station)

The predominant feature of January 2008 in Winnipeg was the lack of precipitation. Only about 4 cm of snow was recorded for the month in Winnipeg, the lowest January snowfall here since 1973 (2.8 cm) and the 4th lowest January snowfall since records began in 1873. The only other precipitation for the month was a brief freezing rain event on the 6th that left about 1 mm of ice making for slippery conditions on city streets and sidewalks. In total, the 5 mm of precipitation at the airport would make this January the 7th driest on record. The lack of precipitation was due to a storm track that was either north of south of the region, with precipitation bearing systems generally bypassing southern MB. The few that did cross the region brought limited moisture. The lack of snowfall comes on the heels of a snowier than normal December that saw about twice the average snowfall. Snowpack was at a consistent 17 cm much of the month.. about half the snowdepth this time last year. Up to Jan 31st, I've recorded 62 cm of snow in Charleswood since October, a little below the average of 69 cm by the end of January.

Temperature wise, January 2008 actually finished about one degree above normal but that was mainly due to a mild first half that saw temperatures climb to a monthly high of +3C on the 6th. A pattern change by mid month ushered in typically cold weather for the last half of the month.. with some bitter wind chills of -47 recorded near the end of the month. Even so, the lowest temperature of the month was a moderate -32.9C on the 14th at the airport, -32.0C at my site on the 31st, with no record lows established during the month.

Overall, a split month temperature-wise with little snow.