Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little snow today.. a little more tomorrow..

A weak clipper system moving through the Dakotas brought a general 2-5 cm of snow across southern Manitoba last night into this morning. Snow will taper off during the day today with another 1-3 cm possible before it ends.

Snowfall reports around southern Manitoba as of 8 am this morning with snowdepth on the ground in cm /xx/.

Rivers....... 7 cm... /60/
Rossburn .... 5 cm... /56/
Carman....... 4 cm... /41/
Winkler ..... 4 cm... /34/
Miami........ 5 cm... /27/
Brandon ...... 3 cm... /47/
Portage...... 3-6 cm... /33/
Winnipeg ..... 3-4 cm... /26/
Oakbank ...... 2 cm... /30/
Rennie ....... 2 cm... /38/
Pinawa ....... 2 cm... /37/

Another clipper will bring more snow Friday..with potential for 5-10 cm over southern MB. Timing on this one will be a little different than today's system with snow moving into Winnipeg/RRV Friday morning after the morning rush hour.. becoming moderate at times by midday through mid afternoon before tapering off in the evening. Winds during the event will be light so blowing and drifting snow shouldn't be a problem during the day.. ..however the winds do pick up from the north in the evening as the snow is tapering off so some blowing and drifting snow will likely develop in open areas Friday evening into Friday night. Overall amounts for Winnipeg look to be around 5-8 cm cm with Friday's system with the bulk of the snow falling between noon and 6 pm. Friday morning commute should be OK but evening commute will be slower than usual..


  1. About 3.5cm of snow so far in Stienbach. According to RADAR we should probably get another 1 or 2cm today, so total here will likely be around 5cm.

  2. Looks like we are heading into a more active weather pattern with a clipper type systems almost every second day!!

  3. Another 4 cm of fluffy powder this afternoon up to 5 pm.. 7.5 cm total so far and still falling lightly. This was a little more than expected today, mainly because of the fluffy stuff we got this afternoon in that persistent band that has been over Winnipeg all day. Water equivalent probably around 20-30:1 with this afternoon's snow which led to the higher amounts.

    And we get to do it all again tomorrow! Finally.. some decent snow!

  4. 8cm total in Steinbach. The snow just wouldn't stop...although that is what some of the models were suggesting, so I shouldn't be so surprised.

    Liquid equivalent is 4.1mm here, so the ratio was 20:1. If the models are correct, we could see widespread 10cm amounts tomorrow given that the ratio should remain the same. Tough call for forecasters in terms of issuing a snowfall warning, but I would lean towards not issuing one, because I can't see us getting much more than 10cm.

  5. Snow finally stopped this evening, but not after a surprising 9 cm storm total here in Charleswood.. as Scott said, the stuff just wouldn't quit. Clearing skies, light winds and a fresh blanket of white fluffy snow making for a beautiful winter evening now before our next batch arrives tomorrow.

    Latest GEM showing a 6 mm bullseye over Red River valley by Friday evening, which would translate to a localized maximum snowfall of 10-15 cm using snow:water ratios around 20:1. Most places however should be in that 5-10 cm range. American guidance is lighter on amounts..

  6. I too was suprised at how long the snow stuck around! Now the roads in the city are a skating rink!

    Looking at the radar looks like the next clipper in knocking on the doorstep!!

  7. Just looking at the snow track on radar and if it continues on its current course it almost looks like Winnipeg may get missed. Seems to be moving towards the south east. Maybe the track will change and move more easterly

  8. Daryl..

    That southeast trend will become more easterly today as the upper flow backs a bit, which is bringing the snow into Winnipeg as we speak. Overall though, it does does look like the heaviest snow will be to our south and west based on radar trends and model projections. Snow has moved into the city now and will continue through the day with snowfall rates up to 1 cm per hour at times. Latest GEM guidance is giving Winnipeg 3.5 mm water equivalent of snow by this evening which would translate to 5-10 cm given 20:1 snow:water ratios. Heavier amounts likely to our south and west where snowfall warnings are in place.

  9. The snow today is NOT so fluffy so the snow ratio you think would be more 15:1 or so!!!

  10. Snow rate has really picked up here in Winterpeg ( I mean Winnipig) Around 1 cm per hour!

  11. The system really did make a change in its movement as it now is moving almost due east. It sure is moving fast compared to yesterdays system.

  12. Snow has lightened up in Winnipeg for the moment, but radar shows another band of more moderate intensity snow coming in from the west shortly. That should take us into the drive home then snow should ease up this evening after 7 pm or so. We've had about 3 or 4 cm so far, with another 2-4 cm on the way. Take care on the drive home.. it will be a slow and slippery one. Winds have been light but will start to pick up from the north at 20-30 km/h as the evening wears on..

  13. 5 cm of new snow today in Charleswood as of 5:30 pm.. with 3 mm water equivalent for a snow:water ratio around 16-17:1. Snow definitely not as fluffy as yesterday's powdery stuff.. with a denser more compact accumulation today. Snow starting to taper off now.. shouldn't see too much more but winds are picking up and temps are falling so some blowing and drifting snow likely this evening.

  14. About 5cm of snow in Steinbach as well. Liquid equivalent is 4.1mm - interestingly the exact same amount as yesterday. That makes for a snow ratio of 12:1.

    13cm of snow in the last 36 hours. 23cm of snow so far this month and about 42cm on the ground.

  15. Thanks for the numbers Scott..

    Snowfall stats for me after today's snow:

    Snowfall past 36 hrs: 14 cm
    Snow on ground: 33 cm
    January snowfall so far: 18 cm
    Snowfall since Nov 1st: 89 cm

    Last year at this time:
    Snow on ground: 20 cm
    January snowfall (to 14th): 3 cm
    Snow since Nov 1st: 25 cm

    As you can see, we're way ahead in snowfall this year.

  16. What's this???
    Another clipper on Sunday night into Monday!!!

    Driving around Winnipeg on Friday night I have never seen the roads so ICY! It was like a skating rink in some areas!!

  17. WHOA! What a surprise!
    The temperature tanked at the airport this morning to -30 C!!

  18. Looks like more lite snow anticipated by an excellent new? tool The TWN Interactive Hiway Forecast. Checkout the trans Canada each hour from 2 pm to 6 pm from Brandon to Winnipeg on my name or

  19. This might be an excellent tool for anyone in road snow clearing .

  20. Rob!
    Numerous weather sources state that while some of the weather we have around the globe is typical of a LA NINA, there are many weather patterns that we have been getting is not normal for LA NINA!

    What Winnipeg has been experienced so far this fall/winter what you would have expected of a LA NINA year???

  21. Hi everyone...

    Our next flood outlook and probabilities will be issued Tuesday....the 18th. Check NWS Grand Forks page that day for graphs. Like the previous ones...these are the usual probabilistic stage forecasts for the river forecast points. They are updated every month yeararound, but of course get much more attention this time of year. NWS is having a press conference in Fargo Tues aftn. Did get a peek at prelim graphs and as you would expect not looking good.

  22. Daniel..

    Overall, I'd say we're getting a somewhat modified La Nina winter here in southern MB.. snowier than normal, but not as cold as you'd normally expect in a La Nina winter. A large part of that is due to the negative Arctic Oscillation (weaker or lack of polar vortex) which has contributed to a much milder winter in the Arctic (mainly eastern Artic).. which in turn has modified the Arctic airmasses coming over us. The result is that our cold outbreaks haven't been anywhere near as cold as they may have been.. up to now anyways.

    But it's a very complex issue to tie our weather solely to La Nina or El Nino. Although these climate patterns certainly do have significant impacts on our winter weather, their effects can be enhanced or negated by other global circulation patterns over the northern Pacific (EPO), Atlantic (NAO) and Arctic (AO). Throw in a warmer Arctic with thinner ice cover and it makes for a very challenging problem to predict seasonal forecasts with any appreciable skill these days..

  23. Thanks for the heads up Dan. We'll be watching closely. Obviously a big concern this year with the wet summer/fall and building snowpack both south and north of the border.. Precip over the next three months will be critical to how severe the flooding will be.. but as you say, not looking good.

  24. Looks like over the next day Environment Canada is calling for another 5 cm of snow!

    I hope everyone is looking forward to a few days in the deep freeze after that???!!!

  25. I see on Rob's main page under the news section....Toronto issues a cold alert!!!

    -15 C for Toronto. Boo Hoo!!
    It would be the end of the world if Toronto ever got as cold as we do!

  26. Another 2cm of snow today in Steinbach. 1.3mm of liquid, giving a snow ratio of 15:1. Total snow for January is now up to 25cm and snow for the entire winter is at 83cm.

  27. Hi all

    Getting off shift soon....would estimate around 2 inches new snow in Grand Forks today and this is about what most sites are reporting down to Fargo and westward. Snow is pretty fine and blowing around so once again pretty much impossible to do it scientifically more of educated estimating.

    Flood outlook released Tuesday will likely have 10 pct chances of many sites reaching flood of record. Dont have exact probs yet..

  28. I think I saw a previous post regarding the record for most days with a high temp below freezing. I'm not sure what the record is but including today (17th) Winnipeg is at 62 consecutive days of below freezing temperatures.
    The last day we saw above freezing temp was on Nov.16/2010 with a temp. of 1.1C. This taken from Rob's Obs stats page.

  29. The next few days look very cold!
    Maybe our first windchill warning of the season???

  30. I see Calgary's forecast calls for 4C - 7C for late week!
    Send some of that tropical weather this way! We need a January Thaw!

  31. Another 3cm up to this morning in Steinbach, for a total of 5cm with the latest 'storm'. Total snow for the month is now at 28cm, and snow for the entire winter is at 86cm. I also took at snow core, which showed a water content of 66mm in the snow pack. My records show that about 62mm of water (in the form of snow) has fallen in Nov, Dec, and Jan.

    Worth noting that up to this point in 1996/1997 we had already received 120cm of snow (not including October), so even with all the snow we've got, we're well behind that year. Although the real game changer for the flood in 1997 was the blizzard in early April, which dropped another 45cm of snow with high water content.

  32. When will this brutal wind subside?

  33. Hi Scott in Steinbach...

    I took the liberty of passing on your snow core sample and precip to the river forecast center in Chanhassen this aftn. It can bec oompared to what satellite estimates...

    By the way we do have the Steinbach webcams bookmarked and they are used at our office and I have your website bookmarked under our canadian weather obs. Keep up the good work

  34. Wind is dropping off as we speak this evening.. with high pressure ridge building over us tonight into Tuesday allowing for clear and very cold conditions. At least wind chill won't add to the misery. Winds pick up again tomorrow night from the south so look for rising temps Tuesday night but also increasing windchills.

    Boy, those Okanagan webcam shots look awfully nice today.. sunshine, no snow on the ground, and +9 to +12C temperatures. (Sigh..) Amazing how those Rockies can hold back all that cold air over the Prairies.. 30 degrees colder on the east side of the rocks.

  35. Dan GF...

    I'm glad you find the information useful. If you are ever in need of data for the Steinbach area, please let me know and I can provide you with it. The fact that there is no official weather station here is a real inconvenience. We are the 3rd largest city in the province, yet we don't have an official weather station - that would be like if Grand Forks didn't have a weather station. There is talk of us getting a station, with the local Member of Parliament and mayor being on board. However, ongoing maintenance costs may be a sticking point. This discussion about Environment Canada weather stations has been had on this blog many times before. At the end of the day we have to blame government for this problem, not Environment Canada.

  36. Yes!
    Winds have dropped off, but not before a few hours of -40 C windchills!

    It is already -30 at the airport!
    I could see us getting a few degrees colder before morning!

  37. Rob!
    Those webcams out of the interior B.C sure did look nice!!!

    Can you remind me why we still live here????

    I know you like to go on a winter holiday some years!! Going anywhere this year???

  38. Was that a -45 Wind Chill (-33) at the airport a few minutes ago.

  39. That April 97 storm event was once in a lifetime (I hope). >40cm of snow and rain on one day. The 4 day event dropped 60 to 80 cms of snow in Morden, Carman, Altona. Near Steinbach EC records show 13mm of rain from the 4th thru 5th and 79.5 cm of Snow.

  40. Anon..

    Yes, the airport briefly had a -45 windchill at 7 am with a 15 km/h wind and a -33C temperature. Generally though winds have been light and variable, below 13 km/h which is the minimum required for a windchill warning. For all intents and purposes, windchill values should be ignored if the wind is below 15 km/h.

    First -30C of the season at my station.. with a frigid -34.3C at the normally colder Winnipeg airport site, and a milder -28C at the Forks downtown.

  41. Thanks Dan GF for the advance on the Preliminary 2011 Spring Flood Outlook Your Grand Forks Page at

    or my name

  42. Thanks Jim

    I was just going to post that link. Considering time of the winter...percentages are quite alarming. My instinct says record flooding at many sites...I think Grand Forks could try for the 54 ft again... Devils Lake has a pretty high chance to rise 2.5 to 3 ft this summer. North Dakota governor working to get the process rolling for an east end outlet on Devils Lake to get more water into the Sheyenne. It goes without saying many folks would love to have a drier than normal summer (except farmers). Fargo and the state expected to declare states of emergency soon to get federal funds to help with flood protection.

    The good news is that city of Fargo has done a lot since 2009 to help things out. The city is pretty well protected to 40 ft now...above 40 ft which I think is pretty likely will require work.

    Will keep you posted.

  43. Well, I don't know about you, but that -35 windchill this morning with a 30 km/h wind felt a lot worse than that alleged -45 "windchill" yesterday morning with a 10-15 km/h wind. Just goes to show you how windchill is exaggerated when winds speeds are light (15 km/h or less)..

  44. Dan..

    Here's a roundup of snow on ground measurements from southern MB as of this morning (Jan 19th)..

    Winnipeg ..... 33 cm (my site)
    Steinbach .... 42 cm (Scott)
    Brandon A .... 59 cm
    Portage LP ... 40 cm
    Snowflake..... 60 cm /near Walhalla/
    Piney ........ 44 cm /near Roseau/
    Carman ....... 46 cm
    Winkler ...... 38 cm
    Emerson ...... 36 cm /autostation/

    Generally around 30-40 cm snowdepth over the RRV with 40-60 cm snowdepth over the western RRV into SW MB. For comparison, Winnipeg airport had 55 cm snowdepth on Jan 19 1997, so snowpack was substantially higher in 96-97 by this point.. but as noted, the real test will be what happens in the next 3 months.

  45. The GFS is showing a HEAT WAVE early next week!!

    I wonder if we will see that warm air or it will just slide to the south like it always seems to do!

  46. Today vs yesterday, (8am)no comparison. Enjoyed today with very little noticeable breeze. Amazing what a tall complex will do with a 15K wind..Direction, and location.. Those tall trees in Charleswood might have an impact as well Yesterdays was from the Southeast here

  47. Thanks Rob for that info! I will pass it on.

    We had another in a long series of discussions about snow depths here at the office. Our measuring area is in flat exposed get away from drifts....but also we tend to measure only in the open area where the wind blows all the snow. Thus the reported Grand Forks NWS snow depth and water equiv (snow core) is often lower than other places. Most cooperative observers live in shelter belts and they take measurements not in flat open fields but in a level area around their house which is protected somewhat. Thus their snow depths and snow waters are much higher.

    Are we at NWS because we measure in a open field exposed by wind underdoing it and perhaps influencing the models by putting in a low SWE. Should we average in some deeper areas near trees...but not a with the open field measurements to get a better picture. Oh...the non-science of snow :)

  48. Rob et al

    I see the media wants to compare snow in Fargo to 96-97....but that winter IMO will likely never be equalled in our lifetime. But it is very important to remember that we are way way wetter going into the winter then back then. This wet cycle really started in we have 15+ yrs now of excess water storage in the soils now versus back then it wasnt quite as bad.

    If we would ever have a widespread heavy snow winter like 96-97 with the current water/soil conditions then without a doubt record flooding would be observed.

    Where the Red begins some of those areas got hit with 12-14 inch rains in the late Summer-early Fall and flows entering Orwell Dam and Lake Traverse are still at record levels.

  49. Comparing historical snow volumes is difficult but here are some interesting combined Pcpn. As you can see its from now to the crest thats important, these are all over the map.

    TO Jan 31

    .From.. April ..Sept ..Nov
    NORM .. 477 .. 152 .. 63
    49-50 .. 533 .. 303 .. 120
    59-60 .. 615 .. 230 .. 45
    62-63 .. 638 .. 106 .. 72
    73-74 .. 618 .. 217 .. 98
    96-97 .. 603 .. 199 .. 121
    05-06 .. 596 .. 153 .. 93
    08-09 .. 517 .. 200 .. 82
    10-11 .. /740* .. /236* ../95*

    *10:1 (rough) this year and EC records for prior years.

  50. We appear not to see a Major flood unless Winnipeg sees 100 mm from Feb 1 to Crest.

    NORM .. 68.3
    49-50 .. 127
    59-60 ... 92
    62-63 ... 48
    73-74 ... 72
    78-79 .. 139
    96-97 .. 106
    05-06 ... 67
    08-09 .. 120
    10-11 ... ??

    PS 78-79 missed numbers

    441.3 .. 165.3 ..72.5

  51. Now that we've completed the Floodway expansion and can rain down 210,000 cu ft/sec of Red River ?? on Selkirk, the most worrisome aspect of yesterdays release was the Long Term
    Forecast of Wet Cold and late spring.

    Is there a contrarian view?

    Can any of that Eastern Arctic Heat radiate this way.

  52. The government of Manitoba water resources is likely to issue their flood outlook here toward the end of the month...perhaps to coincide with the regular Jan 27th flood outlook update out of the RFC Chanhassen.

    We have been in contact with Alf and the new person who took over his position.