Sunday, September 23, 2012

Record cold September morning across RRV and southern MB..

7 am temperatures across southern MB
Sept 23 2012
Clear skies, light winds and a cool airmass over southern Manitoba brought a widespread freeze over southern Manitoba this morning, with record low temperatures set at many locations. In Winnipeg, temperatures fell to a low of -7.1C at YWG airport, beating the previous record low for Sept 23rd of -6.1C set way back in 1879.  In fact, it was the coldest September temperature in Winnipeg in almost 50 years, since a -7.2C reading on Sept 26 1965 (we had a -7.0C reading on Sep 28 2002)  Even the normally balmier downtown core registered its first fall freeze with a low of 0.0C, about 2 weeks earlier than usual (normal first freeze date is Oct 5th downtown)   Even colder temperatures were registered elsewhere in southern Manitoba including a frigid -8.5C in Emerson and Fisher Branch, unusually cold for this time of year.  It's possible that the very dry soil conditions over the past month helped to accelerate heat loss from the ground, allowing for the very cold temperatures to develop.

Record lows across southern MB today.. 

Site .....................................  New record ....... Old record....  Year .... Records began

Brandon airport        -6.7     -6.7(tie) 1976    1890
Fisher Branch          -8.5     -5.5      2001    1977
Gretna                 -6.3     -2.8      1995    1955
Pilot Mound            -5.0     -5.2      1976    1938
Pinawa                 -4.3     -2.5      1989    1964
Sprague                -6.9     -6.0      1989    1915
Winnipeg               -7.1     -6.1      1879    1872

It will be a nice turnaround today though as sunny skies and light southwest winds send temperatures back into the mid teens this afternoon. Normal highs for this time of year are 16C, with normal lows of +4C.


  1. It was cold in 1879 around this time, but then it hit 30°C in early October of that year. There's still room for very warm weather!

  2. Perhaps an even bigger story is unfolding for the end of the month. With only 4 mm of rain so far this month and not much expected in the next week, this could be among the 3 driest Septembers on record. Will be interesting to see next weekend.

  3. Re Garth..

    I am posting this response here as well in case no one is following the old post.

    The point is that these new stations offer us better resolution into meteorological phenomena than the very sparse EC network can provide. Its much easier now to pick up on localized effects etc even if those stations are sub-standard w.r.t. to certain parameters. Remember.. we do not even have EC stations at Selkirk/ St Andrew's airport or Steinbach. Until such a time we do, this network is better than nothing.

    Moving a station has to be accounted for when trying to analyze trends at a given location.. no matter how compliant it is with WMO standards.


  4. Updated record low for today.. a low of -7.1C at YWG airport, which makes it the coldest September temperature in Winnipeg since a -7.2C reading on Sept 26 1965, almost 50 years ago!

  5. Thanks Daniel. I thought you were implying that due to diminishing QC standards at EC, a greater dependence on alternative networks, or forecasting to alternative stations was suggested.

    I would call them supplementary networks, to be used as you suggest to supplement the courser resolution of EC data – and always with BOTH EYES WIDE OPEN. But sometimes having both eyes wide open is more trouble than it's worth (sifting through data to find the 'truth').

    Even for the 45 station network I help to operate, which meets WMO standards for everything except often site exposure (can only cut down so many trees), a person still has to understand each station before using the data for anything important (such as feeding a forecast model, or issuing warnings, or studying global warming).

    I am concerned about the trend towards station density vs. quality and meeting standards. Density is nice, but when stations are giving biased values or the values are all over the map due to a lack of standards and/or maintenance, sometimes more is not better.

    Example – I followed the CoCoRaHS snow data for a storm in the northeast US last winter. It was a very wet snow which caused a lot of downed trees and power lines. Yet the CoCoRaHS obs averaged a snow-water ratio of about 12:1, which is a little on the dry side (I used reported snowfall and SWE at each site). Some people even reported well over 20:1 despite also commenting on very wet snow. Now what happens if this was somewhere between Dauphin and The Pas, with no good obs for comparison, and the data is being used for flood forecasting? You can't adjust the readings if there's nothing to adjust against. (I support CoCoRaHS in general, but even they acknowledge that the snow readings leave something to be desired. It was originally started in the US in response to a heavy rain event, in which case it would serve well.)

    Everyone is being encouraged to join forces in leveraging non-EC networks, but everyone also has different requirements, budgets, standards and motivation, so end up building their own networks (even EC and NavCan at the exact same locations, which I find bewildering). If I can't stand up in court and defend my use of certain station data (mounted on a roof or next to a dark shed, wind well below 10m, tipping bucket on a shaky mount, SWE measured with a rain gauge, lack of maintenance, etc. etc.) then it really becomes for entertainment purposes only.

    (Only the opinion of this nit-picky weather grump, not my employer).

  6. Last comment on this (I promise) - As a note of caution for those using WeatherBug/WeatherFarm, when you pan around the current weather map, you will likely notice the values changing. It's not a matter of live data changing from second to second, as this even happens for EC stations which only report hourly.

    Check these 2 screengrabs:

    The wind value for Berens River changes from 0 to 14 depending on where you pan the map. The actual data values when you mouse-over also change, sometimes agreeing with the map label, sometimes not. (In this case, they both don't agree.)

    This happens with a large number of stations, both EC and WeatherBug/WeatherFarm, and with other weather elements as well.

    So the bugs aren't limited to the station pages (showing the wrong station after you pick one, or mixing the station data with some other location label, etc.) But the map data is also buggy, so use with caution.

    Not trying to pick on any one company, but just a warning because I hate to see people using bad data.

    Sorry Rob. I'll stop littering your blog now. These things just irk me, especially when tax dollars are involved.

  7. No problem Garth.. always good to get feedback on these issues. I've noticed the same problems with the Weatherfarm map showing inconsistent station data when you move the map. Overall though I find the wealth of good data provided by these stations, in real time ( which is essential when monitoring mesoscale weather) outweighs the few bugs in the map display. As you have said, you have to treat all the data with a healthy dose of caution, but there's very beneficial data there as long as you know its limitations.

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