Friday, February 26, 2010

Where has our weather gone?

The quiet weather pattern of the past couple of weeks looks like it will continue into the first week of March with no significant weather systems expected to affect southern MB over the next 7 to 10 days. The ongoing El Nino pattern is leading to a more active storm track over the southern and eastern US while deflecting systems from the southern Prairies. The result is a quieter weather pattern over southern MB.. boring for weather enthusiasts and snowlovers, but welcome news for the Red River valley which has the potential for significant flooding this spring even with normal precipitation patterns. So far in February, Winnipeg has recorded about 18 cm of snow with the bulk of that (12.6 cm) falling on the first weekend of the month. Snowstorms have been few and far between this winter over the Red River valley of Manitoba with only 3 significant snowfalls in Winnipeg this winter.. namely Dec 24-25 (15 cm), January 23-25 (20 cm), and Feb 6-7th (12.6 cm) Other than those main events, periodic snowfalls have been minor with amounts of 1 or 2 cm at most. Snowfall since November 1st in Winnipeg has been 64 cm (as measured at my site in Charleswood) Normal snowfall to the end of February is 78 cm, so we're about 14 cm below average so far. Last winter, we recorded 86 cm to the end of February. Snowfall however has been much heavier to our south , with well above normal snowfall in the North Dakota Red River basin. The big question now is.. will we return to a stormier pattern in March and April that would heighten the Red River flood threat? There are some signals that this will eventually happen, however so far it looks like persistence is winning out with El Nino still influencing the overall storm track. Stay tuned..

Friday, February 19, 2010

NWS issues Red River flood outlook for North Dakota - similar flood to 2009 expected this spring

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks, ND released its latest flood outlook for the Red River today, and it expects flooding similar to that of last year again this spring. A combination of wet fall conditions, a heavy winter snowpack, and a prospect of additional spring precipitation have elevated the possibility of significant flooding of the Red River this year, especially in the southern part of the valley around Fargo which has a 98% chance of reaching major flood stage again this year. The risk of major flooding decreases as you head north towards the Canadian border, but NWS is still predicting a 55% chance of a major flood stage reaching the Canadian border. Keep in mind these are preliminary numbers based on current conditions. These probabilities will change based on the amount of precipitation received over the next month or two through the Red River valley basin as well as the rate of snowmelt. More details can be found from the NWS flood outlook.

Update: Feb 22: The province of Manitoba released its first spring flood outlook today for the province. With normal precipitation levels over the next two months, a flood higher than 2006 but lower than 2009 is predicted for the Red River.

Dull but mild weekend..

Cloudy dull weather is expected over the weekend as a stagnant weather pattern persists over the Prairies. This will result in generally cloudy skies and light winds persisting through Sunday with occasional light flurries and local fog patches. Temperatures will be slightly above normal through the period with afternoon highs around -5C. The extensive area of low cloud will begin to break up Monday as westerly winds increase a bit. Long range models are indicating little in the way of significant weather over southern MB over the next 7 to 10 days as weather systems track well to our north or south.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nice quiet weather for awhile..

The weather looks boring, but nice this week with plenty of sunshine and seasonal to above normal temperatures over southern MB. Afternoon temperatures will climb to the -5 to -8C mark during the afternoons, with light winds and a strengthening February sun making it feel even milder. Great weather to enjoy outdoor activities including the Festival du Voyageur this week. Long range models are hinting at some windy and colder weather moving in by the end of the weekend into early next week, but so far.. no major storm systems expected in the foreseeable future. Enjoy the nice weather!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Record snows from Dallas to DC... rain for the Olympics..

A rare snowstorm in the deep south brought record snows to north Texas yesterday and overnight, with a snowfall of 32 cm in Dallas, their all time heaviest 24 hr snowfall on record. This storm comes two days after the US east coast was blasted by a record setting blizzard, its second storm in less than 5 days that left snow up to 3 feet deep in places. So it's been a stormy snowy week over the southern and and eastern US, with comparisons to the stormy weather pattern of February 1978 that brought record blizzards and snowfall to the East Coast.

Meanwhile on the opposite coast, it's the rain that's the main weather story, as the Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver. A series of strong Pacific weather systems will come onshore over the weekend bringing plenty of rain, low cloud and fog to the west Coast. The precipitation will fall as snow over higher elevations, but low clouds and heavy snow will make for very poor visibilities and ski conditions. All in all, looks like a wet gloomy start to the 2010 Winter Olympics. For Olympic Games weather information, consult EC's 2010 Olympic weather page as well as their online weather briefing website. Environment Canada is the official provider of weather forecast information for the 2010 games (see story).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Quiet seasonable weather for the next little while..

The weather pattern looks quiet and stable over the next week to 10 days with no major storm systems expected across the Prairies or Northern Plains into next week. This is fairly typical for this time of year as on average, February is the driest of the winter months in southern MB. There may be the occasional weak system passing through from the northwest from time to time resulting in some light flurries, but overall the weather looks dry through next week. Temperatures are expected to remain near seasonal averages through the period with highs around -10C and lows near -20C. Overall, a spell of pleasant mid winter weather coming up.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow moving in this weekend..

Cloudy mild weather is on tap over southern MB today with temperatures rising to the -5C mark.. some 5 degrees above normal for early February. A change in the weather is expected this weekend however as a slow moving trough of low pressure moves across southern Manitoba. An area of snow is forecast to develop across western MB and the Interlake regions Saturday morning spreading into Winnipeg and the Red River valley by Saturday afternoon. Snow is expected to increase in intensity Saturday night across the RRV with 5-8 cm possible by Sunday morning and another 2-5 cm Sunday. Increasing northerly winds Sunday afternoon and Sunday night will draw in colder air as well as the possibility of blowing and drifting snow. This could make for another tricky commute Monday morning although a repeat of Monday January 25th's blizzard conditions is not expected. Still... get ready for another snowy weekend across southern MB with wintery travel conditions returning once again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

January 2010 milder than normal

January 2010 ended up 4C warmer than normal in Winnipeg with a monthly mean temperature of -13.7C, compared to the 30 year average of -17.8C. The above normal temperatures were mainly due to a 2 week warm spell from the 10th to the 25th when temperatures were some 10-15C above normal. The mild spell included a record high of +4C on the 16th, the warmest reading of the month. There were only 2 days with temperatures of -30C or lower, occurring on the first two days of the month with a minimum of -34C on the 1st. Other than that, temperatures were quite tolerable for January.

Snowfall for the month was close to average with about 23 cm for the month. Much of it however fell during a storm system that affected southern Manitoba from the 22nd to the 25th with two waves of snow. The first wave brought 10-15 cm of heavy wet snow on the 22nd-23rd, which was followed by another 5-10 cm on the 24th-25th that was accompanied by strong winds and blizzard conditions. This led to severe travel disruptions throughout southern MB on the 25th with road and school closures due to the poor visibility. Other than that, precipitation was meager during January with little in the way of weather systems.

All in all.. a pleasant winter month with one major storm system.