Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 3rd warmest January on record in Winnipeg..

January 2012 will go down in the record books as Winnipeg's 3rd warmest January since records began in 1873. The month finished with a monthly mean temperature of -10.8C, 7C above normal, and the mildest January behind 2006 (-7.4C) and 1944 (-10.6C) The month began exceptionally mild with temperatures some 15C above normal over the first 10 days of the month. The only cold weather of the month was between the 17th and 20th when temperatures dropped into the -20s. Other than that, temperatures were above normal nearly every day of the month. The mild weather continued the trend of December which was also well above normal (6C above normal) and ranked as the 9th mildest December on record in Winnipeg. January 2012 marks Winnipeg's 7th consecutive month that has averaged above normal, going back to July 2011.

Top 5 warmest Januarys in Winnipeg (since 1873)

1. 2006 ......... -7.4C
2. 1944 ......... -10.6C
3. 2012 ......... -10.8C
4. 1942 .......... -11.4C
5. 1992 .......... -11.5C

Normal .......... -17.8C (1971-2000 30 year average)

A look at the temperature anomaly map for January (left) shows how the central Prairies experienced the most abnormal warmth during this past month. The persistent warmth this winter can be attributed to a stronger than normal Arctic jet stream which has been generally stuck in a position over the Arctic. This has effectively blocked intrusions of Arctic airmasses southward over the Prairies, while allowing frequent invasions of mild Pacific air from the west. This is a result of a persistently positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation, a climatic pattern affecting the flow of air across the northern latitudes of the globe. This northern oscillation has more than offset the climatic impacts of La Nina, which normally would bring colder and snowier winters to western Canada and the Prairies... an outlook many were predicting this winter. The northern extent of the jet stream has also deflected storms further north, resulting in a notable lack of snow over the prairies, and the 3rd least snowy January on record in the US. Click here for a good summary by Jeff Masters on the impacts of the Arctic oscillation on this year's winter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Snow and freezing rain spreading towards Winnipeg..

A low pressure system moving across southern MB is bringing a wintery mix of precipitation across southwest MB this afternoon, with snow and freezing rain being reported. Precipitation is falling in the form of snow north of the Yellowhead highway through the Riding Mtns and Dauphin area while freezing rain is being reported along and south of the Yellowhead highway. Freezing rain warnings have been issued for areas west of Winnipeg this afternoon including Portage LP and Brandon. This area of precipitation will move into Winnipeg later this afternoon, possibly starting as freezing rain or ice pellets before changing to snow this evening. Motorists are advised that highways are being reported as ice covered and slippery to the west of Winnipeg, and should be prepared for slick travel conditions on untreated roadways around Winnipeg and the RRV by the evening rush hour.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January to end on milder note with some snow..

January 2012 will be ending much like it began.. with temperatures well above normal. Today's sunshine and "cold" weather (which is actually still a bit above normal) will give way to increasing clouds this afternoon as a warm front approaches from the west. A band of snow ahead of the front (see morning radar image left) will push into Winnipeg/RRV this evening with 2 -4 cm of snow possible tonight. Brisk southeast winds will accompany the snow with some drifting and local blowing snow possible. Snow and wind will taper off by Monday morning with cloudy and milder conditions forecast during the day.

Another band of precipitation is expected by Monday night, with some more snow likely (perhaps another 2-4 cm) along with a risk of freezing rain. (See 48 hr precipitation graph left above from SpotWx.com showing output from last night's RGEM model)

Temperatures will continue well above normal Tuesday with highs near freezing. January 2012 will end up as Winnipeg's 3rd warmest January on record, with a chance of second place honours depending on how mild we get over the next couple of days.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 2012 on pace for 2nd or 3rd warmest January on record

Other than a few days of below normal weather during the third week of the month, January 2012 has been unseasonably mild over southern Manitoba, running some 7 degrees above normal to date (normal January monthly mean in Winnipeg is -17.8C) The month began with an exceptionally mild start averaging some 15C above normal over the first 10 days of the month, with temperatures soaring to record breaking values of +7C in Winnipeg on the 5th, and +12C over the western RRV. A mini cold snap between the 16th and 21st brought a spell of below normal temperatures in the minus 20s, but the cold snap was short lived as milder weather returned for the last 10 days of the month. As a result, Jan 2012 is on pace to finish with a mean monthly temperature around -10.8C, which would make it the third warmest January in Winnipeg since January records began in 1873. Only Jan 2006 (-7.4C) and Jan 1944 (-10.6C) have been milder in Winnipeg, with January 1942 currently the third warmest at -11.4C. In fact, if milder weather develops as predicted over the last couple of days of the month, January 2012 will challenge Jan 1944 as the second mildest January ever in Winnipeg. This comes off a mild December that was the 9th mildest on record finishing over 6C above normal. This January will also mark the 7th consecutive month of above normal temperatures in Winnipeg, going back to July 2011. And it looks like the above normal temperatures will continue into the beginning of February with well above normal temperatures likely to start the month. It's been quite the ride.. one wonders, how long will it continue?

For additional details on this winter's amazing warmth, see the latest entry from A Weather Moment ("What happened to winter?") (also includes introduction of a new model viewer as well!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mild week ahead..

Milder weather is on tap over the next few days as a westerly flow of Pacific air spreads across the Prairies one again this week. Temperatures are forecast to climb to the freezing mark by Wednesday over the RRV along with gusty south winds. Some snow is possible in the wake of this system Wednesday night into Thursday, with colder weather forecast for the weekend. Temperatures however are only expected to drop to near normal values for this time of year, which are highs of -13 and lows of -23C. At this time, there are no indications of a return to the deep freeze that we experienced last week. The tame winter of 2011-12 continues..

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More snow on the way Sunday..

Some light snow affected much of the RRV today, as a warm front started to push across southern MB bringing a reprieve from the Arctic cold of the past week. This front will usher in even milder temperatures for Sunday, although more snow is in the forecast. A low pressure system will pass through the Dakotas Sunday with a trough extending back into southern MB. Snow associated with this storm system will spread into the RRV and southeastern MB Sunday with accumulating snow likely. Right now, it looks like areas south and east of Winnipeg may get clipped with 5-10 cm of snow Sunday into Sunday night, with lesser amounts of 2-5 cm for Winnipeg and the northern RRV. Note however that Winnipeg could see higher snowfall amounts if this system pushes a little further north. Slightly colder weather is forecast behind this system Monday and Tuesday, but above normal temperatures are expected for latter half of the week.

UPDATE: Looks like main system will be tracking further southeast than earlier thought.. some light snow possible for us later today into tonight, but little accumulation expected. A couple cm possible to our south and east.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cold week ahead.. moderating temperatures with some snow by the weekend.

A large dome of arctic air will be flooding over the Prairies this week, bringing the coldest weather of the season so far to southern MB. Temperatures this week will likely stay below the -20C mark all week, with the season's first -30C readings predicted for Thursday and Friday mornings. A weak clipper system will bring some clouds and light snow to the RRV Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, with a dusting to 2 cm possible. Other than that, generally clear and cold weather is expected this week. A moderating trend is expected by next weekend along with a good chance of more snow. Until then, get ready for some typical Prairie mid-winter cold weather for the next few days..

For additional details on this week's deep freeze and other weather stories, check the A Weather Moment weather blog.. another local website with insightful analysis and commentary on southern MB weather.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Milder weekend.. then getting even colder for next week..

After snapping us back to reality, Mother Nature will bring some moderating temperatures to southern MB this weekend as a warm front over southern Saskatchewan edges eastward. This front will bring in some light snow to southern MB tonight with a dusting to 2 cm possible over the RRV. On Saturday cloudy skies are expected with a chance of flurries, and temperatures around the -8C mark along with light winds. On Sunday, a clipper system from Alberta is forecast to track across southern MB bringing milder conditions to the RRV along with some snow, especially north of Winnipeg through the Interlake regions where 5-10 cm is possible. Colder air will follow in the wake of this storm system by Monday with temperatures plunging back to below normal values for next week. In fact, it will be the coldest weather of the season so far with highs in the minus 20s and our first -30C readings possible in Winnipeg by Tuesday morning. By Wednesday a clipper system will bring in cloud and some light snow followed by clearing and colder weather for the end of week. Looking further ahead, long range guidance is hinting at moderating temperatures for the end for January along with an increased chance of snow bearing systems over southern MB as a strong jet stream sets up along the US border.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another mild day today then Arctic blast moves in for Wednesday..

It'll be one more day of above freezing temperatures today over southern Manitoba before the well advertised blast of Arctic air moves in tonight into Wednesday. Temperatures today will once again flirt with record highs near +5c in Winnipeg, with milder readings to our southwest. This will be our 7th day so far this month with a daily high above the freezing mark, an amazing stat considering we typically see only 1 or 2 days above freezing all of January. But that will be the end of the mild weather for awhile as a sharp cold front pushes across southern MB tonight. This front will usher in a much colder airmass from the north along with occasional snow and gusty northwest winds overnight through Wednesday. Temperatures will fall to the minus 15C mark by Wednesday morning, and continue to drop during the day to minus 20C by evening. Windchill values (remember those?) will fall to the minus 30 range.. which will be a shock to the system after such a prolonged spell of mild weather (32 consecutive days above normal). The cold weather will persist through Thursday before a moderating trend this weekend. Get the cold weather gear ready.. more typical January weather is on the way!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Another record breaking mild day across southern MB

Another day of record highs is expected across southern MB today as the abnormally mild weather pattern of the past month continues across the Prairies.

Highs today of +4 to +9C are expected across southern MB, with the warmest readings expected over the snowfree areas of the southern and western RRV, as well as along the US border. Satellite photos (see left image above) show an incredible lack of snowcover across the southern Prairies and northern Plains, with no snow on the ground over most of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, and much of southern SK and SW MB. The image looks like something from April, not early January! Note the webcam image from Emerson today (above right), showing a complete lack of snowcover under clear blue skies and temperatures of +7C as of 1 pm. Much of the RRV south and west of Winnipeg looks like this. More records are expected today across southern MB, although Winnipeg will likely be slightly shy of today's record high of +5.6C in 1958 due to some lingering snow on the ground here.

Today's records across Manitoba

Location............................ Rec High ........ old ........... year......Records began
BRANDON                 4.5      4.4      1986    1890
GRETNA 8.0 7.2 1958 1956
ISLAND LAKE -0.2 -0.6 2002 1971
MELITA 8.6 3.9 2006 1993
SPRAGUE 5.9 5.0 1958 1916
THOMPSON -3.3 -3.8 1983 1967

Regardless, today marks the 31st consecutive day of above normal temperatures in Winnipeg and southern MB (see temperature graph left). Daily temperatures have been above normal every day since Dec 10th averaging 10C above normal through the period, with only 4 days below normal since Nov 21st (a span of 49 days) But some changes are on the way as colder air is poised to move in over southern MB by Wednesday. Even then, temperatures are only expected to fall to the normal range with highs around -13C and lows near -23C. But after 4 straight weeks of mild temperatures, you'll understand if people have forgotten what "normal" is. Until then, enjoy the nice balmy weather while it's here!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Pattern change to colder weather by middle of next week..

Long range guidance is beginning to show signs of a pattern change to colder weather over southern MB by Wednesday of next week. After another surge of mild Pacific air with above freezing temperatures over southern MB on Monday, a large Arctic airmass will begin to flood into the northwest Prairies by Tuesday. This colder airmass will spread into southern MB by Wednesday in the wake of a low pressure system crossing the International border Tuesday that will bring some snow to southern MB.. possibly 2-5 cm. After Wednesday, long range guidance is suggesting a spell of below normal temperatures over southern MB through next weekend into the third week of January, which would mean daily highs of -15C or colder, and lows of -25C or lower. How long this cold spell will last is not known. The AO index remains positive, which suggests that the spell of cold weather may not last long.. and there is considerable uncertainty in the 2 week forecast. But colder weather appears to be on the way for a little while.. which will be good news for people looking for more typical January weather to finally arrive in southern MB.

Third warmest January day on record in Winnipeg

Yesterday's high of +6.7C at Winnipeg airport was Winnipeg's third warmest January day on record, tied with the 6.7C on Jan 22 1942. Only 2 January days have been warmer than yesterday in Winnipeg.. Jan 11 1986 at 7.3C, and Jan 23 1942 at 7.8C. Official temperature records in Winnipeg began in 1872.

How close did Winnipeg airport get to setting an all time January high yesterday? Temperatures up to 8C were recorded just outside the Perimeter in Headingley and St Norbert, with 9C in Sanford and Starbuck, 10C in Brunkild, and 11c in Sperling and Elm Creek. (See CWB mesonet temperature plot image above for 3 pm temperatures yesterday, as well as MB ag-wx mesonet summary) My station in SW Winnipeg registered a high of +7.4C, while the Forks hit +7.6C. So the airport was literally just 10 miles away from all time high status. Regardless, a spectacular January day (if you're not crazy about cold weather).

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Record mild day on tap.. all time January highs possible over RRV

Today will be one for the record books as a push of unseasonably mild air spreads across the Prairies into southern Manitoba. A brisk southwest flow will send temperatures well above the freezing mark, with afternoon highs expected in the +5 to +8c range over much of southern MB, some 20C above normal for early January (normal highs of -13C). The warmest area is expected in the western RRV from Portage through Carman to Morden/Winkler/Gretna areas where a lack of snow and a favourable downslope wind will likely push temperatures to the 10C mark this afternoon. In fact , these areas are already at a phenomenal +6C as of 8 am! Numerous record highs are likely today, with the possibility that some localities in southern MB may establish all time January highs today. In Winnipeg, today's record high of +4.3C in 1984 will easily be surpassed.. with the possibility that we may exceed the all time warmest January day ever in the city of +7.8C set back on Jan 23 1942.

All time January high temperatures include..

Winnipeg.......+ 7.8C ..... Jan 23 1942
Portage .........+11.1C .... Jan 23 1942
Brandon ........ + 8.3C .... Jan 21 2001
Dauphin ........ +9.6C ..... Jan 11 1986

Will today be Winnipeg's warmest January day ever since records began in 1872? Be sure to get outside today to find out the answer!

UPDATE: YWG's official high today was +6.7C.. easily a record high for the day, but 1.1C shy of the all time January high. (see video of today's mild weather) Temperatures in the RRV climbed into double digits just south and west of Winnipeg (see 3 pm WxBug temperature plot and MB ag-wx mesonet summary) Other highs today included..

Melita ......... 11.9C
Gretna ........ 11.5C
Carman ...... 11.4C
Morden ...... 11.4C
Emerson ..... 11.1C
Portage ....... 10.3C
Dauphin ...... 9.0C
Brandon ...... 7.3C

Further south in North Dakota, all time January highs were established in Fargo (13C vs 12C), Minot (16C vs 15C), Williston (14C vs 13C) and Jamestown (13C (tied))

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Continuing mild.. record highs likely Thursday

The mild weather of December has continued into January, as Arctic air remains trapped well to the north.. unable to push south due to a strong westerly flow aloft bringing surges of mild Pacific air across the Prairies. Tuesday was another very mild day across southern MB, with temperatures rising above freezing once again in Winnipeg (+0.6C), and a record +6.5C in Carman, MB.. the provincial hot spot. Today will see temperatures around the freezing mark before another surge of Pacific air spreads across southern Manitoba Thursday, with temperatures forecast to reach record breaking values in the +4 to +7C range. Snowfree areas of the western RRV from Portage through Carman to Morden/Gretna areas may even hit the 10C mark Thursday.. over 20C above normal. In Winnipeg, a high of +7C is forecast, which would easily break the record high for January 5th of +4.3C set in 1984. Slightly cooler temperatures are expected for Friday into the weekend, but still remaining some 5-10C above normal for early January (normal highs of -13C, normal lows -23C) No significant precipitation is expected through the next 5 days.

The mild and dry weather is coming off the heels of a very mild and dry December in southern Manitoba, which finished as the 9th mildest December on record in Winnipeg (-8.1C, +6.3C above normal) with only about 5 cm of snow the entire month (9th least snowiest December on record) Average daily temperatures have been consistently above average since Dec 10th. Mild Decembers have been fairly common the past decade. Five of the top 18 mildest Decembers in Winnipeg have occurred within the past 10 years (2011, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2003). December marked the 6th consecutive month in Winnipeg that has averaged above normal temperature wise. (see temperature graph of past 12 months)