Sunday, February 06, 2011

Winnipeg snowfall stats through January

The following is a summary of the winter snowfall so far in Winnipeg. Snowfall data is from my site in Charleswood, while past snowfall data previous to 2004 is from YWG airport and St Johns College.

Snowfall - October 2010 to January 2011 ………. 116.6 cm
Normal snowfall (October to January inclusive).... 69.3 cm

Normal snowfall for entire snowfall season ........ 110.6 cm

So already at the end of January, we have exceeded our normal snowfall for the entire snowfall season (technically from September to May, although snowfall in both September and May is rare).

This is the greatest October to January snowfall accumulation since October 1996 to January 1997 when 136.8 cm was recorded. However this is still nowhere near a record and not in the top 10 for Oct-Jan snowfall accumulations. The record was in 1955-56. From October 1955 to January 1956, Winnipeg Richardson Intl Airport received 183.3 cm and for the entire snowfall season there was 252.6 cm, our snowiest winter ever.

Top 12 Snowfalls October to January (cm)

.......Years......Oct-Jan... Entire Snowfall Season
1. 1955-56..... 183.3..... 252.6 cm
2. 1915-16..... 152.9..... 216.7
3. 1919-20..... 152.6..... 211.8
4. 1996-97..... 136.8..... 213.4
5. 1909-10..... 132.8..... 212.8
6. 1906-07..... 127.0..... 193.5
7. 1933-34..... 126.6..... 170.5
8. 1949-50..... 126.0..... 201.9
9. 1988-89..... 122.9..... 152.3
10. 1965-66..... 117.3..... 212.6
11. 1874-75..... 116.7..... 140.3
12. 2010-11..... 116.6......???

Top 12 Snowfall seasons (Sept-May)

.......Years..... Entire Season..... Oct-Jan
1. 1955-56...... 252.6 ............ 183.3 cm
2. 1915-16...... 216.7............. 152.9
3. 1996-97...... 213.4............. 136.8
4. 1909-10...... 212.8............. 132.6
5. 1965-66...... 212.6............. 117.3
6. 1919-20...... 211.8............. 152.6
7. 1949-50...... 201.9............. 126.0
8. 1893-94...... 194.3............. 101.3
9. 1906-07...... 193.5............. 127.0
10. 1935-36.... 184.3............... 93.8
11. 1995-96.... 183.0.............. 99.1
12. 1892-93.... 181.2............. 100.7

Snowfall records:

Winnipeg St Johns College: 1872-1938
Winnipeg Richardson Intl Airport: 1938-2007
Winnipeg Charleswood: 2004-present


  1. Look, some years like 88-89 where the rest of the year you get very little snow, while other's you get slammed!
    Rob, what is your feeling on how the rest of the year could play out???? Could this pattern yield any BIG storms or we stuck in this NW flow for a long while??

  2. daniel..

    Historically in La Nina years, odds favour a wetter and cooler spring for the RRV, but not every year is like that. Each event is different, and other climatic influences can enhance or diminish the impacts of La Nina. NWS Grand Forks has some very good information on the potential for what the rest of this winter may be like for our region (click on my name for link)

    The big concern obviously is with the active storm track that has been plaguing the US and eastern Canada the past couple of months. Eventually this storm track will shift north as we head into March and April and impact us .. but will it still be as active then? Also, will it stall across us and give us above average storms and precip, or will it quickly push north and we get into a quick spring with relatively little pcpn? We really don't know. (But you can hazard a guess on my latest poll!)

    One thing's for sure.. we are one or two big systems away from a very serious situation on the Red this year. Can we go the next 3 months without a seeing a major storm system?

  3. Snow is part of the potential flood story. Other years have produced major rain/snow amounts after the first of April following little in Feb and March. In 1949-50 from Sept 1 to the Flood crest in mid May combined pcpn totaled 450. 411 after the first of Oct. Of that total 120 occurred after April 1 but only 26.9 occurred in Feb/march much like 1996-7 (76.6)(32.8) and 1978-9 (73.5)(29.1) .

  4. So I voted for "Were doomed, below average snowfall and above avg snow/rain in April".

    What do U mean, that wasn't a choice??

  5. Jim I think you meant 1973-74 when pcpn total of 45.7mm in/by April 25th but only 26.4 in Feb and March

    In 78-79 An additional 24.3mm to May 10th brought the totals to
    94.8 from April 1 to the crest. and 65.4 in Feb and March (29.1 was the Jan/Feb total)

  6. For the purpose of the poll, I'm looking at the overall snow amounts the rest of the winter (Feb through April). Normal snowfall through that period is about 40 cm. Normal snowfall would be anything in the 35-45 cm range, below normal snowfall would be less than 35 cm, and above normal would be > 45 cm.

    I'm not taking rainfall into account which could be a significant factor as we get into April.

  7. Rob!
    Major warm up on the way!
    Maybe by the end of the next week our snowpack will be pretty much depleted.....ahhh who am I trying to kid!!!

  8. Looks like a rather significant pattern change over the next few days where that cold core shifts to the northeast.
    The battleground of warm vs. cold seems to set up across southern Canada. Hopefully we don't get walloped with any large storms with this pattern change.

  9. Will be a nice change tomorrow as we get out of the deep freeze and westerly winds tap some of that mild Pacific air streaming in from the west. Will still be a chilly start to the day Friday, but by noon look for winds to shift into the west, and temperatures pop into the minus single digits. (look at Regina today for a similar pattern.. curently -18C but -6C with a northwest wind in Moose Jaw)

    I'm not that confident about our +2C here for Saturday. GEM indicates a weak clipper passing through with a bit of snow (a couple cm possible).. and we lose our westerly surface wind. Still mild Saturday, but temperatures may stay below freezing..

  10. No major storms noted with this pattern change as we get into a zonal flow that basically steers storm systems north of us.. and we get moderating temperatures with a mild Pacific flow. Weak clippers possible now and then, but no major pcpn bearing systems.

    A more threatening pattern would be if a large scale trough develops over Western NA, which would bring a greater potential for stronger storms ejecting out of the southwest US into the Plains and southeast Prairies. Currently it looks like we'll stay in a relatively dry and mild zonal flow for the next week or so, with a possible progression to a western trough - east coast ridge set-up towards the middle and end of February..

  11. Nice to feel that strengthening sunshine out there today.. first time this year that I could actually feel the warmth of the sun in the car. And it's only get stronger each day from here!

  12. Looks like this warm up is going to be very reluctant for our region. GFS show warm front/ trough retrograding overnite into Saturday with winds backing to SSE. Arctic front waffles right over us in response to series of small disturbances dropping SE. Given 850 hPa temps around -5 to -7 C and uncertainty in exact position of surface front, things may end up being cooler than anticipated as Rob mentioned.

    Interesting hybrid type low takes shape for later in the week... GFS hinting at gulf opening up with good southerly flow all the way up into the prairies. In its wake arctic front sweeps south into western Canada while warm advection continues into the central plains setting up an impressive baroclinic zone. A montana/wyoming type will develop and track along this boundary by next weekend.. will have to keep an eye on that one.

  13. Rob!
    There were area in Oklahoma that had -25F to -30F the other day!

    Now there is talk about the same areas being in the 60's F !

    Now that is what I call a warm up!!

  14. Any possibilites for a major colorado low to hit us this time next week?

  15. Long range models are showing potential for a plains storm system affecting southern MB next Friday-Saturday time frame. Upper air pattern has west coast trough pushing inland with energy riding up the trough into the central plains setting up potential storm system. Still very early, but something to watch. NAEFS ensembles barely register any pcpn for Winnipeg at this point, but we'll have to see how it trends over the next few days.

  16. Interesting article from the Montreal Gazette talking about a possible link between the washed out grain crop last year in Saskatchewan and the fall of Mubarak in Egypt (click on my name). A bit of a stretch perhaps, but interesting to speculate on what impacts weather and climate can have on the global geopolitical landscape.

  17. Re: Winnipeg's projected high of +7C on Tuesday (computer generated forecast). A bit extreme, but not impossible if we get a westerly flow and tap some of that warmer air that will be surfacing to the west and southwest. Record high for Tuesday is +5.9C in 1981 when we had 17 cm of snow on the ground, so it's possible to get those kind of temps with snowcover. However, with our deeper snowpack this year and the possibility of our winds staying more southerly much of Tuesday, I'm thinking Winnipeg will be more like +3 or +4C, with +7C possible mainly over western RRV (Portage through Morden) Whatever the case, some nice springlike weather coming up!

  18. Rob!
    More concern is the upcoming rain and snow tomorrow??
    Are we talking a couple of sprinkles or a few mm???

    Frezzing rain an issue tomorrow???

  19. Also High wind watch issued for North Dakota!
    Could those very strong winds make it into Southern Manitoba???

  20. Daniel...

    Models indicate minimal amounts of rain if any over Winnipeg/RRV tomorrow morning. There is a slight risk of patchy frzg rain given surface temps near freezing. We turn windy and colder in the afternoon/evening as those NW winds increase and tap colder air aloft. Looks like some snow will accompany the colder air with a couple cm possible by evening. Could be some lower vsbys with the wind and falling snow, although blowing snow should be minimized with the milder temps during the day. Right now, winds gusting to 70 kmh are fcst for us, which seems reasonable given cold advection and 40-50 kt low level winds.

  21. A little better consensus starting to develop on Friday's storm system.. with NAEFS ensembles now showing some measurable pcpn (2-5 mm) over Winnipeg late Thursday into Friday. GFS/GGEM/ECMWF all showing an intensifying low over central plains Thursday moving through Minnesota Friday into northern Ontario by Saturday. Expanding snow shield on NW side of storm system would bring accumulating snow, increasing north winds and colder temps into southern MB Friday, with some ensemble members showing potential for significant accumulations in the RRV. Still too early to say anything more specific, but obviously something to keep an eye on. I suspect that "sunny" forecast for Friday will be changing over the next day or so. (that forecast was from the CEFS ensembles which seems to have a dry bias and often misses pcpn events)