Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winter of 2009-10 warmest and driest in Canada in over 60 years

The latest winter in Canada will go down as the warmest and driest winter on a national basis since records started in 1948. The 3 month period of Dec 2009 - Feb 2010 averaged 4.0C above normal for the country as a whole, topping the previous record mildest national winter of 2005-06 which was 3.9C above normal. The bulk of the warmth was observed over Arctic Canada which experienced its warmest winter on record on a regional basis averaging over 5C above normal. In the Prairies, the winter did not rank in the top 10 mildest winters since 1948 with the southwestern prairies being the only part of the country which experienced a cooler than normal winter this year.

This past winter was also the driest on record over the country, with precipitation averaging some 22% below normal. This makes it the driest winter on a national basis since 1977-78 which averaged 20% below normal. The winter was the 9th driest on record for the Prairies averaging some 39% below normal precipitation. The warm and dry winter can be at least partly attributed to the moderately strong El Nino which has been persistent since last fall.


  1. Its consistent with the general displacement of arctic vortex and strongly negative AO index we experienced thru much of the period...

    Energy split into two main lows at 700 hPa with northern low progged to move NNW from extreme SW Minnesota up towards SE N Dakota. Models also show better saturation moving up from south at 500 to 700 hPa. Given the above I think the potential is there for deformation zone precip to finally move into southern RRV possibly as far north as southern suburbs of Winnipeg. Hard to believe we end up with nothing out of this storm.

    Snow levels have certainly decreased here with fog drizzle and persistent above zero temperatures. Lowering snowdepths do not necessarily imply increased runoff right away... at first the density of the snowpack increases (ratio of water content to depth), as snow becomes compacted. However up here in Winnipeg where snowpack was shallower, a lot of bare ground is showing up in open areas.

  2. Snow depth in Steinbach is now at 15cm, down from 30cm on Sunday night. With a high temperature of +6.5C today, the snowpack has fallen sharply. The fields around Steinbach are quickly becoming bare, with only ditches still full of snow. Within the city there is still a fair bit of snow on residential properties, but streets and boulevards are completely snow free.

  3. Rob!

    You think that we could hit double digits on the weekend as the forecast is implying???

    Or this that just wishful thinking?

  4. Wow, rain was coming down quite hard around 6AM. Woke up and heard pouring =D. Good melting, lots of grass coming now.

  5. Unreal~~~

    Lots of rain this morning!
    Jewels is right about the snow vanishing into thin air!

    Environment Canada is still calling for double digits this weekend!!!!

  6. Those high temperatures of 8-10C look optimistic for Winnipeg as does that sunny forecast. There's a lot of low level moisture over southern MB and without any strong winds to dry things out, I'd be very surprised to see us clear out by the weekend (although that would be nice as I come back to Winnipeg from sunny Toronto tomorrow) So if we stay cloudy, we'll likely be no higher than +5C for highs. If we do indeed get sunshine, then 7-8C is certainly possible given the degradation of the snowpack these past few days (glad I'm missing that awful slop out there!)

  7. The field across the highway from me shows lots of black earth this morning so another day above freezing and it should be almost bare. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see double digits if the sun comes out as promised.

  8. Too late to run a contest or is it?
    Two years ago Rob Posted.

    Monday, March 10, 2008
    Milder weather.. but when will the snow go?
    Looks like a couple of milder days coming up, with near to slightly above freezing temperatures forecast through Wednesday. (Not sure about the +2 for today.. southerly wind out of an Arctic ridge.. but we should see near freezing anyways) This, along with that strengthening March sun, should help melt some of that 20-30 cm snowpack across the Red River valley. But it's going to take more than a couple of mild days to get rid of all this snow.. so the question is.. when can we expect this snowcover to go completely in the Winnipeg area? If we get into a mild pattern, the snow can go pretty quickly this time of year, sometimes within a few days. But this year may be a little slower due to an expected pattern of below normal temperatures the rest of the month.

    For reference, here's a list of average dates when Winnipeg lost its snow cover over the last few years (+/- a couple of days depending on your location)

    2007.. March 28 (30 cm snowpack on March 24th)
    2006.. April 4
    2005.. April 4
    2004.. April 5
    2003.. March 22
    2002.. March 30
    2001.. April 3
    2000.. Feb 22 (+16.5C by March 6)

    Based on this, climatology would suggest our snowcover should be gone the first week of April or so this year, barring any large snowstorms before then (let's hope not!) Take the poll (right) to vote on when you think we'll lose our snowcover this year.

  9. This fog is really starting to get thick again!

    Hopefully this will be the last of it!

  10. The snow is melting so fast, we are having a hard time finding good places to teach our School of Met students how to measure snow depth. Most of our observing compound is a mix of grass patches and wet snow lumps.

  11. Models hinting at a another possible round of rain rotating into SE Manitoba. Lobe of energy will continue moving NW and stall just to our SE. RH fields also suggest deeper moisture backing in once again. Plenty of convection firing in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois associated with unstable warm advection regime.. this will degrade into stratiform precip and warp back towards northern plains. I would not be surprised if next deformation zone backs into SE Manitoba and southern RRV even though model QPF fields do not call for that... these precip bands sometimes have mind of their own especially when they are associated with huge low pressure systems like the current one.

  12. Daniel Has that wraparound "2" disappeared off your "won't be surprised" list?

    An inch since Monday in all of the MN/ND RRV to 1.5 to 2 inches ( Grand Forks, Grafton to Hallock area).

  13. This started last night with river warnings for Whapeton and Breckenridge And now this

    913am NWS Overland flood warning (due to rain and Melt)

    Select On my name.

  14. A year ago ROB was away on the last few days of March and the first few days of April and the EC fcsts were pathetic (according to all those who posted at that time (see posts on mar 31 2009)

    Fortunately we had Daniel(s) Daryl etc.

    BUT ROB is away again. we're relying on you Dans et al.

  15. Good news, the sun has burst through here in River Heights at 1:29 PM, the first time in how many days? I've lost track. I like this sun event.

  16. snow melt still going slow in the southern RRV...ditches still full of snow and not moving much water yet. Looks as though clouds will be over our area through Tuesday before a warmup mid next week then a cold snap. How this will impact rivers is a ?? If we can get 45-50 degree day or two next week could get things going...only to slow down when colder air arrives. Looks like blo avg temps thru late month. Models still trying to show psbl pcpn event Mar 20-21st period...

  17. This is a little out of place, but I figure it might not be seen in the other blog post.

    There has been another massive update to the mobile weather site located at:

    Among the changes:

    - Links to warnings
    - Upgraded radar imagery to current Weatheroffice radar
    - Lots of style tweaks
    - Added loop-able GEM 3-hour QPF display with MSLP on it. It's a beta and might break still.
    - Fixed some UI bugs
    - Optimized the PHP code for faster loading
    - Fixed links so anywhere along the line can be used to select them
    - Tweaked times for satellites to switch from visible to infrared.
    - Added lots and lots of cities. Here's the full list now:


    Portage la Prairie




    Edmonton City Center
    Edmonton Intl. Airport
    Fort McMurray
    Grand Prairie
    High Level
    Medicine Hat
    Peace River
    Pincher Creek
    Red Deer
    Slave Lake















  18. My yard is completely flooded from the snow melt. The snowpack at my place is around 5 to 10cm, but in some areas it is 0cm. Most roofs in Steinbach are snow-free and the fields around the area are generally 75% or more bare ground. If we could get a few days of 5 to 10C weather under sunny skies, it could do away with the remaining snow rather quickly.

  19. Flew into Winnipeg from Toronto this afternoon.. from the air, I estimate general snowcover around the city is maybe 30-40%.. lots of bare spots in the open fields which will make it that much easier to warm up if we get sunshine. Airport field was pretty much snowfree except for snowbanks. Thanks for getting rid of all that snow while I was gone!

    Snowdepth in my backyard was 33 cm when I left last Saturday.. it's down to about 10-15 cm now with bare spots.

    Thanks for the updates on the Weather Central app blog Brad. Looking good!

  20. While Canada recorded its warmest and driest winter in over 60 years, the US recorded its coldest winter in 25 years, and its 18th coldest since 1895 (click on my name for story) It was also the 19th wettest on record. The bulk of the coldest and wettest anomalies were over the Gulf Coast states thanks to an active southern storm track, a common signature of El Nino winters.

  21. Winnipeg and RRV still stuck in low cloud this morning, but sunny skies not too far away with some unexpected clearing noted over SE MB through Steinbach and Whiteshell areas, as well as west of Portage La Prairie. Hopefully strengthening March sun will continue to erode that cloud edge so we see some sun today in Winnipeg. Snowcover rapidly disappearing in Winnipeg with temperatures that have stayed above 0C (both day and night) since Tuesday. This will be the earliest melt at my location since 2003 (snowfree by March 22nd)

  22. Rob Glad to see you're back and trust any improvement in EC will be the direct result...also Kudos for those tweaks to the mobile group at UM...

  23. Dan GF looks like the ditches took your words to heart and gushed forth at Twin Valley. Major Flood Stage reached last night although not expected til Sunday. Otherwise rivers are rising much faster at Fargo etc than forecast yesterday at noon.

    Click on my name For Twin Valley

    For others go to Grand Forks Briefing Page at

  24. New Flood Warnings issued by NWS Grand Forks at 11:25am AND Follow up Flood Statement issued at 12:17pm Red River and MN tributaries south of Grand Forks for Halstad, Fargo Wahpeton etc.

    Rivers are rising rapidly with Major Flood Stage Higher in some cases and sooner than yesterdays prediction.

    My name for Flood Statement