Monday, March 09, 2009

Blizzard set to hit eastern North Dakota to NW Ontario. Storm to clip southeast MB

A Colorado low storm system is forecast to track into the upper Mississippi Valley Tuesday through Tuesday night bringing heavy snow and strong winds just to the south and east of Manitoba. The storm is expected to bring snow into eastern North Dakota overnight into Tuesday morning, pushing into NW Ontario by afternoon. Snow is expected to become heavy late Tuesday through Tuesday night, along with increasing northerly winds that will produce blizzard conditions throughout eastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota, and NW Ontario. The heaviest snowfall is expected over northern Minnesota and NW Ontario where 20-40 cm is expected by Wednesday morning in places like Bemidji, International Falls, Duluth, Atikokan and Thunder Bay. Although the worst of the storm is expected to bypass Manitoba, the extreme southeast corner of the province will likely see reduced visibilities in snow and blowing snow particularly towards the US and Ontario borders in places like Emerson, Sprague and Falcon Lake. As such, a winter storm watch has been issued for these areas. People planning on travelling to North Dakota, Minnesota, or NW Ontario Tuesday into early Wednesday should be prepared to postpone travel plans due to the likelihood of poor travelling conditions and road closures from this major storm system.


  1. Terrible one-two punch for our friends across the border. Lead disturbance delivered enhanced snow band between Grand Forks and Fargo as advertized. Barely a breather before lift and frontogenetic forcing (sharpening of temp gradient) along arctic front/inverted trough commences again by dawn Tuesday. Some areas of WC and NW Minnesota could get up to 40 cm when all said and done.

    This Colorado low will be a sprawling, complex system. A broad and powerful low level jet is depicted to plow across the Ohio Valley nosing into S Michigan and possibly extreme SW Ontario by Tuesday morning. The jet will tap theta e rich air (warm, moist) and lift it isentropically (overriding of warm air above cold dome). This destabilizes the air and leads to leads to widespread convection.

    If a large mesoscale convective system forms across N Illinois and Ohio etc... it may cut off moisture somewhat to the frontogenetic forcing along the arctic front/ inverted trough. Seems like the only thing to hope for to cut back on snow totals across the southern RRV.

    And at the same time a massive 1045 - 1050 mb arctic high coming down over Alberta. Ridge will extend from central Saskatchewan thru central Alberta into the interior of BC under extremely cold 850 MB temps (as low as -30 C !!!) Potential is there for record breaking overnite lows all the way from Saskatoon to Kamloops. Only mitigating factor are high clouds streaming from southern BC into S Alberta. Once again I think EC guidance is not cold enough for the overnite period.

  2. Blizzard warning for South eastern Manitoba!

    Looks like the edge of snow is even getting close to Winnipeg!

    Poor folks in North Dakota is just getting smoked!

  3. Sharp line to the snow reaching the ground.. Emerson still calling 15 km visibility, while Grand Forks has blizzard conditions. Lake of the Woods and Steinbach webcams still not showing any snow yet. I suspect Emerson will be going down soon, but I still don't think Winnipeg will see much if anything. Focus for heavier precipitation will shift further east as the day progresses..

  4. I find that Emerson recording station a little odd~

    15 km visibility for 7 hours straight~
    Also how can it be sunny out!

  5. That's an auto-station report.. the "sunny" comes from no cloud detected below 10 thsd feet..although it's overcast above that level. So sunny is a poor choice of words.. it should say "FAIR" or "NO CLOUD BELOW 10 THSD FEET"

    The visibility sensor there is usually pretty good.. down to 1 km now as of 11:15 am.

  6. Blizzard has fully developed in Emerson!
    Visibility has been under 1 km for the last few hours!

    This storm is pretty much playing out as expected!

  7. Not even a flake here in Winnipeg.. but I see Steinbach is getting some snow according to webcams, while conditions are worse to the south and east. Absolutely brutal out there with that horrid north wind.. way too late in the year for this kind of cold. Looking forward to that warmup later this week!

  8. Hi from Grand Forks...

    played out as expected...though would have liked to see more snowfall but with the wind who knows how much fell. Vsby this aftn at best 2-3 houses ahead...but conditions are much worse south and east of this area where more snow cover exists. FYI the next flood outlook is on this Friday. Generally speaking how the RFC in Chanhassen MN does this is to run many variables to come up with the percents of possible crest levels based on known conditions of soil moisture and snow water equivalent and then throw in above or normal amts of pcpn for the next 2 months based on differing climo trends. So...yes to some degree this storm itself will not alter much the flood outlook unless actual observations come in way more...but with the wind snow on the ground likely will not change much making snow cores about the same.

    I enjoy reading your posts everyone. Several forecasters from our office will visit Winnipeg weather in early May.

  9. Thanks for the report Dan! You guys have definitely been getting more of the action this winter!

  10. Certainly a blizzard here. Here is a neat webcam, where you can pan around Steinbach...Click the link below "Want to Control the WebCam" to pan around the city.

  11. Thanks for the link Scott.. really blowing out your way!

  12. Numerous records fell last nite under the arctic high. Overnite lows of -40 to -45 C along the Yellowhead corridor in central Alberta and Saskatchewan including -43 C at Edmonton Int'l. This shattered the record by nearly 14 degrees. Kamloops, William Lake, and Prince George in BC were all very close to records as well.

    Upper disturbance over Idaho last nite produced just enough lift to generate clouds and light snow over southern Alberta and western Saskatchewan. This wave appears to wash out tonite allowing for clearing conditions and extreme cold for southern Saskatchewan, SW Manitoba and western N Dakota. No reason to think places like Regina, Weyburn, Melita, Estevan and Minot will be spared from -35 to -37 C lows.

    RRV will be tricky... models show flow slackening off and clearing tomorrow morning. Exact timing will have big impact on Temps for YWG but my guess is -30 C by 9 am.

    I see EC has put out a windchill warning for areas under the high pressure ridge in Saskatchewan for occasional gusts over 15 kmh. It would make more sense to put out the warning for Manitoba in the northerly gradient where I am pretty sure we will get advisory level windchills. Not the best call I think from EC.

  13. That -42.7C at Edmonton Int'l is an all time low for March at that site (previous record -42.2C March 1 1972)

  14. We have got some 30cm+ snow drifts here as a result of the strong winds...remember that only about 2cm fell here over the last 24 hours.

    I suspect the blizzard conditions will continue until at least midnight, before slowly subsiding.

    P.S. Looking forward to the nice temperatures this weekend and next week!

  15. Scott

    I'm on the north side of Winnipeg right at the perimeter. We didn't see a flake but the winds were very strong. It was interesting to see that the wind was actully picking up chunks of settled snow in about 14" by 3" pieces. As soon as the chunk would go airborne it would almost just vaporize to dust. Not really enough to cause much for drifting as the fields are getting close to bare.

  16. We chat with Fargo TV mets and they are saying for Fargo it is the third worst blizzard since 1997 (in terms of vsby/wind/overall impact). Fargo got 10 inches of new snow and snow depths in the southern valley range from 15 to 25 inches. Roads are blocked with I 29 and 94 shut. I-29 is closed at Pembina.

  17. oh dear lord im from thunder bay and its tuesday at 404 pm and i cant see houses 40 yards away so much snow!!!!!

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