Sunday, January 02, 2011

Cold and quiet start to the New Year

It's a cold and quiet start to the new year as Arctic high pressure builds over the Prairies. This ridge will give mainly sunny conditions and seasonably cold temperatures over the next couple of days. Luckily, winds will be light today and Monday so windchill should not be an issue. A weak clipper system will bring a chance of some light snow to southern MB by Wednesday into Thursday followed by clearing and cold conditions for the end of the week into the weekend. Long range guidance is indicating a spell of below normal temperatures next week with little in the way of major storm systems affecting southern MB. Mid winter weather is here.


  1. Will be interesting to see what the December temperature statistics look like for Iqaluit. It looks like their "heat wave" will continue at least into this week with tomorrow's forecast calling for a high of +2C and rain. A huge departure from their normal high of -21C!!

    Just down the coast from Iqaluit, the Kimmirut webcam is still showing what looks like open water in the harbour. Pretty hard to believe, considering the area is getting only 4.5 hours of sun each day!!

  2. I can't believe how warm Baffin Island has been!
    Open water in the harbour in January is unheard of, as also is the rainfall !

  3. Here's a question for someone.

    At this time of the year, sunset gets later by about one minute every day. As the winter moves into spring,that changes to 2 or 3 minutes a day. And then as the summer solstice approaches, it slows down again.

    Similarly sunset gets earlier by about one minute a day in early summer, which then picks up to 2 or 3 minutes a day as the seasons progress.

    This same cycle takes place with regard to sunrise.

    What is the explanation for why this takes place?

  4. Those sun dogs we paint in the sky for winter boredom relief take longer n longer to come in each day.

  5. As milder weather appears, it becomes too warm outside 'n the Sun Dogs come in sooner each evening to keep cool.

  6. Joe:

    The sunrise/sunset times are governed by the apparent movement of the Sun in the sky. Around the Solstices, the Sun's apparent position changes very little, which makes sense since the Sun's apparent path reverses direction from south to north, or north to south. The Sun's maximum rate of change in position is around the Equinoxes, which is why at those time the day to day difference in times of sunrise/sunset are the largest. The effect is more pronounced at higher latitudes. Think about the rate of change at the arctic circle in summer. The sun would "hang" on the horizon, then at the summer solstice. Then at equinox when the sun is over the equator, the rate of change is maximum. It's all because we live on a globe / a curved surface inclined in its orbit around the sun.

  7. As anonymous said.. it has to do with the curvature of the earth. Think of a unit circle on a 2-D Cartesian (xy) plane (vertices at x,y = 0,1; 1,0; -1,0; etc). The rate of change for the y component (latitude) is maximized about the x-axis (equator) hence the greatest rate of change in day length as the sun 'migrates' thru that region.

  8. edit: that should be the rate of change for the y component vs the x component is maximized about the equator (x axis)

  9. December mean at Iqaluit was -8.4C, a whopping 14C above normal! As far as I can tell, that's a record warm December for them..

    As for us, doesn't look like any above normal weather for awhile.. lots of cold Arctic air going to push down over the Prairies for January.. with models suggesting a more typical mid winter pattern with a building ridge over the west coast/Gulf of Alaska, and a polar vortex with trough through central/eastern NA. This type of upper flow would allow for more frequent invasions of colder Arctic air over the southern Prairies with a better teleconnection to Siberian airmasses moving across the high Arctic then diving into central NA (as Dave C. noted in an earlier post) Bottom line.. cold and dry for us as the main storm track stays to our south, with a few minor clippers now and then in the NW upper flow.

  10. Iqaluit's previous warmest December was -11.8C in 1985 (records go back to 1946), so Dec 2010 easily smashed that old mark by over 3 degrees C.. a remarkable margin for a monthly record. That goes to show how unsual and persistent the upper pattern has been over eastern Arctic with that blocking high over Greenland. Quite extraordinary..

    And that blocking high is still there.. with Iqaluit above freezing again today through Wednesday (normal high there right now is -22c) There is some compelling evidence to suggest that the loss of Arctic sea ice may be making this unusual winter pattern more common in the future.. Winter getaways to Baffin anyone:)?

  11. A winter getaway to Baffin Island doesn't seem that far-fetched on a day like today. The current temperature of +6C in Pangnirtung (300km NE of Iqaluit) beats the +4C that Las Vegas is currently sitting at!!

  12. From the sea surface temp anomaly, it looks like the gulf stream has moved north and is running up the west side of Greenland into Davis Strait:

    A shift in the Gulf Stream could also help explain the cold winter in Europe.

  13. Warmer on Baffin Island than in Las Vegas???!!!! Brutal!
    Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the very warm month they had up north!

  14. Hey Everybody, check this out.

    Tremendous tool for getting up-to-date weather info anytime and anywhere! Roll your mouse over any airport or city for the current conditions. Pretty Neat! Click on the locations and get even more info (snowfall, etc)

  15. 2cm of snow last night in Steinbach, with 1.3mm of water. Ratio was about 15:1.

    Snowpack depth is at about 32cm.

  16. Scott!
    You could see another 2 cm of snow tonight!
    Maybe another 2 on Thursday night!

  17. Next week looks very cold!!
    Maybe our first wind chill warnings of the season???

  18. Dan GF!
    I see NWS has a new warning that was just introduced!

    "Extreme cold warning"
    What do you think about that one???

  19. I guess someone at EC looked outside and said "hey we better change the forecast cause its still snowing." LOL A last minute change from a 4:00pm snow ending this evening to a 12:15am periods of snow tonight. Oh well doesn't look like it will add up to much.

  20. Daniel P

    The whole extreme cold warning has been thought about for a while, and has been in place in Alaska. The goal of this is to combine this with the wind chill adv/warning program. That makes sense.

    The idea is that at a certain temperature, cold can be a killer regardless of if there is wind. So if wind is less than 5 kt, how do we handle those situations when cold can be life threatening. There are people living in the streets out there and each year during a big cold snap you hear about a death due to exposure. It really wasnt the wind, but the temperature. This extreme cold warning is an attempt to handle situations when there is no wind but it is life threatening cold. the NWS Central Region went about it I dont like right now. This product is only for a few northern plains offices and not region or nation wide. Central Region wanted to expand it but other regions in the NWS balked at it for now.

    Problem is as it stands now....we got a wind chill adv for our area for wind chills -25 to -39 and a warning for -40 or lower wind chills. Now when winds less than 5 mph...we got an extreme cold warning for temps -30F and lower. So...right now...we got an advisory for wind chills of -35F but a warning for temp of -35F and no wind. Doest make sense.

    I forsee in a year or two the two combining. Having a cold warning for temps and wind chills below say -30F. I hope do away with the advisory for WC.

  21. I know we're a long way from the record, but what is the Winnipeg record for the most days without the temperature hitting 0C and when was it set? What are we at as of today?

  22. Dan GF-

    We have similar issues here with very cold temperatures and light winds. We have an additional problem in that current windchill readings are broadcast for ANY wind speed, no matter how light (even 2 km/h). This is inconsistent with the forecast and warning program that requires a minimum of at least 13 km/h to mention windchill or issue windchill warnings. This causes confusion when temperatures are cold and winds are light.. (e.g. what do you do when you get a windchill of -42 based on a 5 km/h wind?)

    The net result is that windchill readings here in Canada are over-stated, and get far too much attention even when it's not an issue (with light winds). I've even heard some radio stations just give the current wind chill value rather than the air temperature (or both).

    I really wish we would only broadcast current windchill readings when wind was a certain minimum value (at least 10 or 15 km/h) to truly represent a wind chill situation.

  23. Sounds like many parts of the world are getting extreme weather!

    Floods, mudslides, ice and snowstorms!!!

    We here in Winnipeg are fairing pretty good!!
    Any storms in our future???

  24. Yeah.. a lot of extreme weather around the world.. the only extreme thing about the weather in Winnipeg right now is that it's extremely boring (sorry, but I can't get excited about 0.5 cm snowfalls day after day :)

    The flash flooding in Australia is incredible. The online Free Press has an amazing YouTube video that shows a river overflowing its banks beside a parking lot, sweeping dozens of cars downstream. Incredible footage showing the power of nature at her worst.. (click on my name for video)

  25. According to the Australian weather service, Brisbane has had over 300 mm of rain in the first 12 days of January, on top of the 500 mm that fell in December. Over 800 mm of rain in just 6 weeks! A staggering amount of water out there. Click on my name for more photos from the flash flood in Toowoomba.

    They are expecting water levels to peak in Brisbane Thursday.. they fear that up to 40,000 homes may go under water. People are evacuating the city as the flood waters move towards the coast.. A major disaster unfolding out there..

  26. Amazing video and pictures~
    Thanks for the links!