Sunday, March 01, 2009

Coldest winter in Winnipeg in 13 years

The final stats are in, and it looks like the past 3 month period of Dec-Jan-Feb was the coldest winter in Winnipeg since 1995-96. The mean temperature over the past 3 months was -17.9C, almost 3 degrees below the normal winter average of -15.3C, and the coldest winter since 1995-96 with an average of -18.1C. All 3 months this winter were below normal, with December being the coldest from normal (-19.3C vs -14.4, or about 5C below normal) This likely gave the impression that this winter was longer and harsher than usual, which it was to some point. However, when looking at winters back to 1872 in Winnipeg, this past winter was not even in the top 30 coldest of all time. Winters in the late 1800s were considerably colder than now, and more recently, there were several winters in the 1970s that were colder than this past winter (see table below for list of coldest Winnipeg winters) So although this past winter was certainly the coldest in over a decade, it wasn't as severe as many other winters in Winnipeg history.

Winter of 2008-09

Dec 2008: -19.3C (normal -14.4C, 4.9C below normal)
Jan 2009: -19.9C (normal -17.8C, 2.2C below normal)
Feb 2009: -14.6C (normal -13.6C, 1.0C below normal)
overall: -17.9C (normal -15.3C, 2.6C below normal)

Top 30 coldest Winnipeg winters since 1872:

1. 1874-75... -23.0
2. 1886-87... -22.9
3. 1883-84... -22.3
3. 1884-85... -22.3
5. 1882-83... -21.7
6. 1892-93... -21.5
6. 1935-36... -21.5
8. 1887-88... -21.2
9. 1879-80... -21.0
10. 1978-79... -20.8
11. 1916-17... -20.2
12. 1889-90... -20.1
13. 1872-73... -19.9
13. 1875-76... -19.9
13. 1949-50... -19.9
16. 1893-94... -19.8
17. 1903-04... -19.4
17. 1964-65... -19.4
19. 1898-99... -19.2
20. 1961-62... -18.8
20. 1971-72... -18.8
22. 1906-07... -18.7
22. 1958-59... -18.7
22. 1973-74... -18.7
22. 1977-78... -18.7
26. 1965-66... -18.5
27. 1948-49... -18.2
28. 1942-43... -18.1
28. 1995-96... -18.1
30. 1966-67... -18.0


  1. Maybe it was not the coldest but it had to be one of the most windy winters ever.

  2. Thanks for all the information Rob!

    That's depressing to see how cold Winnipeg and area winters can really be!!!

  3. Looks like Environment Canada issued there spring "forecast" and it looks like there is no rush into spring!

    Also looks like some snow will be falling tomorrow with 2- 4 cm

    Any chances of freezing rain tomorrow ??

  4. Weather network is calling for 5-10cm tomorrow and 2-4 cm for both Wednesday and Thursday. Weather Net seems to be a little over optimistic overall.

  5. 5-10 cm for tomorrow looks awfully high.. I think we'll see some light snow by afternoon or evening with 2-5 cm Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Freezing rain risk is low for Winnipeg, higher over southwest MB. The sunny forecast for Wednesday seems a little optimistic.. models indicate some lingering clouds and light snow in the morning before drier air moves in.

  6. What happened to all the snow that was forecast???

    What was Environment Canada looking at that made them think of 2- 4 cm of snow!
    More like what was the weather network thinking of??

    5- 10 Cm of snow~~~ good call weather network!!!

  7. The computer models are all over the place this week with the numerous small waves of low pressure that will crossing the area!

    One day it is snow... then rain!
    NO just cloudy!

    The temperatures forecasts are also very tricky!

  8. Yeah.. models haven't been very helpful these past few days. Very inconsistent from one run to the next. We'll see if the snow for tomorrow pans out.. I'm thinking we should get something out of it.

    FWIW.. models hinting at a Colorado low possibly affecting us by mid week next week. We'll have to keep an eye on that one..

  9. I was wondering about all those cold winters in the 1800s. How good is the data from those times? It seems to me thermometers could be very accurate in those days, but who knows? Maybe they weren't as cold as reported? What do you think?

  10. What's up with Environment Canada's change to 7 day forecasts? I think they're setting themselves up for failure in the public eye since they don't provide localized discussions about how the forecast evolves (like the NWS forecast discussions do). People will just be more grumpy about how the forecast is "not accurate" :)

  11. 7 day forecasts from Environment Canada!!!!

    They have trouble sometimes getting the same day's forecast right !!

  12. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the Day 7 12 Z run of the ECMWF!

    That would be an EPIC storm for Southern Manitoba!!!!

    Lets see if that storm vanishes from the models the next couple of days!

  13. Yeah.. that ECMWF solution looks mighty impressive.. shades of March 4 1966! Still a long ways out, but there's a consensus developing that there will a significant storm emerging out of the central plains next Tuesday-Wednesday. Stay tuned..

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