Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winnipeg dodges first wave of snow.. second storm threatens SE Manitoba New Year's Eve

The first wave of a one-two storm punch over the northern US Plains came in weaker than expected last night, bringing a swath of about 5-10 cm of snow mainly south and east of Winnipeg. Winnipeg just got brushed with a dusting of snow that was earlier threatening much more. Skies have cleared now with brisk northerly winds ushering much colder temperatures and wind chill values near -30. A second more powerful storm system is forecast to develop over Minnesota New Year's Eve and track into NW Ontario on New Year's Day. This system will bring a second wave of snow that will clip southeastern MB New Year's Eve with 5-10 cm possible near the Ontario border along with gusty north winds. Currently, it looks like the bulk of the snow will remain to the east of Winnipeg, but some light snow and increasing north winds may produce areas of poor visibilities in blowing and drifting snow in the Red River valley for New Year's Eve. The worst of this second storm is expected to impact eastern ND and NW Minnesota where blizzard conditions are expected.


  1. I can't beleive we have come so painfully close to beating the record it seems so far away with chances of snow here in Winnipeg seem slim on Friday night!!!

  2. Rob!
    I'm confused!
    Was that First wave of snow a part of the storm that is developing now in ND ( band of snow pushing toward GF)!??

    Or was that band of snow a seperate system???

  3. Looks like Fargo is getting slammed with a blizzard this noon hour with another one friday night!

    Looks like DAN GF is in the thick of things!!!

  4. After a second measurement, I'm calling it at 8cm here in Steinbach. Lots of blowing and drifting, so some spots have around 5cm of snow and some areas are closer to 10cm. My manual gauge collected 6.9mm of precipitation, so 8cm makes the most sense.

  5. daniel..

    That area of snow is a secondary surge of moisture associated with the first storm system which is getting organized in Minnesota. That will mainly affect sern ND and western Minnesota into NW Ontario. Then there's a break during the day Friday before they get whacked again with the second storm Friday night into Saturday. Meanwhile, all we can do is watch enviously from a windy and cold Winnipeg (us snow-lovers anyways) :(

  6. Fargo down to 0.15 miles in heavy snow and 40 mph wind gusts! Crazy stuff!!

  7. Remarkable temperature gradient in place with Fargo at -14 C and Alexandria MN at +1 C. Nearly 5 C at the twin cities and values of +16 in southern Iowa.. wouldn't that feel nice? But no, we cannot even reach the freezing mark. Will we challenge the record for most consecutive days below zero set in 96-97?...

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  9. We drove from Fargo this morning and there were place where it was a complete whiteout on I29. Maybe 6 ft of visibility! Slowed right down. Scared to rear-end someone or get rear-ended!

  10. Mention has been made on this blog of the quirks of the Pcpn measuring device at the Airport.,

    Seems ironic that the record we'll break or not will be determined by the remains (or replacement). of the instrument that measured accurately 49 years ago.

    Also ironic that the official records will note it with an asterisk ❋ which bears a startling resemblance to the snowflakes we didn't receive. Jim

  11. News out of Fargo states that there was a 100 car pile-up on the interstate due to the severe blizzard conditions!

  12. car pile up was on I-94 west of Fargo occurred mid aftn. The last of the people got rescued about 8 pm last evening. Grand Forks got squat for snow from this last one but hope to get several inches tonight. Winds were ever howling though true channeling effect down (or up) the valley.

  13. 100-Car Pileup Near Fargo During Blizzard
    By Bill Deger, Meteorologist
    Dec 31, 2010; 12:04 AM

    Thursday's blizzard, the first of a one-two punch for the northern Plains, likely contributed to a 100-car pileup on I-94 in North Dakota.
    The chain-reaction wreck occurred along a stretch of I-94 a few miles west of Fargo, N.D., late Thursday afternoon when two tractor-trailers jackknifed on the slippery highway.
    Observations from the area indicate that snow was falling heavily at the time of the accident Thursday evening. Combined with winds gusting above 40 mph, visibilities were reduced below a half-mile at the time.
    The pileup led to the closure of I-94 from Fargo to Jamestown. In addition, I-29 from the Canadian border all the way south to South Dakota, over 200 miles of highway, is also closed due to blizzard conditions.
    According to officials, four people were injured in the wreck, one was critical.
    The blizzard on Thursday is just the first of two expected to strike the northern Plains through the beginning of the new year.

  14. Blizzard warning re issued in areas of ND right up to the border!
    I think areas around Emerson could see blizzard conditions as it would seem they could get a few cm of snow and wind gusts to 60 !!

    Rob! Is there any remote chance of Winnipeg seeing any snow from this second storm???

  15. Satellite imagery this morning showing a well defined circulation over southern Nebraska supporting second storm system now giving widespread blizzard conditions to southern and eastern South Dakota. Blizzard conditions will be moving up into eastern ND this afternoon into tonight, with some of that snow and blowing snow clipping southeast MB tonight into early Saturday. The big question is how far north and west the western edge of the snow will push into southern MB tonight. Models have been consistent in showing little or no snow north and west of an Emerson-Pinawa line.. but we'll have to monitor radar trends to see if this area of snow is pushing a little further north and west than models are suggesting. This is a very powerful and energetic storm with very strong wind fields and lift (over 100 knot jet core observed at 500 mb over AMA TX this morning). Models will sometimes underestimate northern and western extents of precipitation with systems this intense. If so, this would bring a period of snow and blowing snow into the RRV tonight possibly as far as Winnipeg.. Stay tuned..

  16. Thanks for the update Rob!
    Looks like this blizzard is gonna be a real doozy for area's along the border and into the dakotas!

    In situations like this where a storm could effect both sides of the border does Environment Canada discuss weather information with the NWS out of Grand Forks???
    I often wonder if what the NWS does for warning's along the border might effect what enviornment Canada does or vise versa!

  17. Daniel..

    Yes, absolutely.. EC and NWS often talk with one another (including Dan GF!) about severe weather impacts that we may share in our regions, not only in the winter but all year round. EC and NWS will often update one another on severe storm cells near the international border that may impact their respective areas of responsibility.

    Speaking of which, I see NWS GFK has expanded their blizzard warning westward to include the Devils' Lake region.. mainly due to concerns with the strong winds combining with light snowfall in that area tonight.

  18. Just to give you an idea how dynamic this second storm system is.. lightning noted near Pipestone MN just NE of Sioux Fall SD. Currently -16C in the area with moderate to heavy snow occurring.

  19. NWS grand forks discussion at 10:30states this:

    "The NAM is picking up a gravity wave in the pressure field"

    What is a gravity wave???

  20. Gravity waves are basically impulses in the upper atmosphere that can translate to narrow bands of enhanced lift and heavier precipitation at the surface. They are caused by undulations in the upper atmosphere in strong flow situations (such as with this storm) and are often visible on satellite imagery as banded or rippled cloud patterns.

  21. Winds are already 35 - 40 MPH gusts in the grand forks to Fargo area! When that snow moves in look for a complete WHITEOUT!

  22. Could that snow on radar pivot back into the Winnipeg area before midnight!!! Oh don't tell me could break the record and that it might come down to the last hour!!??

  23. UND webcam out of grand forks basically shows a whiteout!!

    0.25 mile visibilty at the airport!

  24. Well.. that was a letdown.. only a dusting of snow last night here in Winnipeg, with gusty winds giving some blowing and drifting snow. So "0-1 cm" and "close but no cigar" end up as the correct answers for the poll questions (congrats to the sole respondent who chose 0-1 cm!) For something that was looking very promising (a majority of respondents said "it was in the bag" with at least "5-10 cm") this system fell short of giving us a decent snowfall, or a new precip record. 2010 ends up with 722.5 mm of total precipitation, a mere 1 mm shy of the 1962 record. (note: a couple of phantom 0.5 mm readings on Dec 30 and 31st added to the overall 2010 total at YWG airport)

    So that's over with.. let's see what wild and wacky weather 2011 holds for us. Happy New Year!

  25. Some snowfall obs from overnight..

    Falcon Lake... 10 cm
    Pinawa........ 7 cm
    Oakbank ...... 3 cm
    Chwd ......... 0.2 cm
    Winkler....... Tr

  26. In the super long range, it appears cold is coming!

    I know, I know, it's not exactly spring outside right now, but potentially the coldest of the season is on its way in about a week and a half.

    At 264 hours (12/00Z) the GFS is painting a 1052 mb high over northwest Alberta, pounding down some brutal cold into the prairies. By 312 hours (14/00Z) the same model has the entire prairies overspread with highs around -30.

    The GEM-GLB seems likely to trend in the same way, seeing as how at 216 hours (10/00Z) it has a 1072 mb high over northeast Alaska. 1072!!!!

  27. Another 7cm in Steinbach last night - with a liquid equivalent of 7.4mm. Tough to measure snow, but I know for sure that at least another 5cm fell. When you cross-reference that with the liquid equivalent, it puts us around the 7cm mark. Storm total for this event in Steinbach is 15cm, which is a far cry from the 30cm+ that the models were showing back on Monday and Tuesday. No blizzard conditions here either, this snow just does not want to blow around very much, despite the strong winds.

    I'm counting about 1cm of last night's snow in December, and the other 6cm in January. That gives Steinbach 23cm in December, which is slightly above normal.

    Once the models got this system under control, the GFS really did well with amounts. It was correct in predicting 6mm for Steinbach on Wed night-Thurs and was also correct in predicting 7-8mm for Steinbach on Fri night-Sat. Too bad the GFS wasn't that accurate back on Monday...

  28. Happy new year to you too Rob and everyone else on this blog!

    I'm sure one of the major weather stories in 2011 will be the flood battle this upcoming spring!
    Before that throw in some brutal cold and few more blizzards and we will have plenty to blog about!

  29. Ended up with a snowfall total of 16 cm for December.. all minor events with no day with more than 3 cm. Snowdepth of 21 cm at the end of the month. Seasonal snowfall as of Dec 31st stands at 72 cm (as measured at my site).

    After a stormy and snowy start to the winter in late November, the storm track shifted further south in December with most storms either tracking from southern Alberta/Montana into the Dakotas.. or forming in the southern Rockies and tracking through Minnesota. The net result was that areas to our south, east and west received more snow in December including..

    Steinbach ... 23 cm (from Scott)
    Brandon .... 36 cm
    Kenora ..... 32 cm
    Grand Forks... 30 cm
    Fargo ........ 67 cm !
    and finally Minneapolis with a record breaking 85 cm (thanks in large part to that Metrodome storm of 40 cm on the 11th)

    As we get into the depth of winter, the storm track should continue to affect areas mainly to our south especially in a La Nina winter. That storm track should lift north during March and April giving us a better chance of more snow for the latter half of the winter. This obviously will be a big concern as we get into the spring flooding season.