An extensive Arctic airmass has spread over the Prairies this weekend, and southern MB will be in the grips of it much of the upcoming week. Temperatures will struggle to get above -20C until next weekend, with overnight lows at or below the -30C mark most nights. In fact, Winnipeg airport has already hit the -30C mark this evening (Jan 20th), the first -30C reading at YWG airport since Feb 25 2011. That ended a streak of 693 straight days without a -30C reading, the longest such streak at Winnipeg airport since records began there in March 1938. The only other longer spell of above -30C weather in Winnipeg was from Feb 15 1930 - Jan 29 1932 (714 days) but that record was set at the St John's College observing site closer to downtown, theoretically a slightly warmer location than the airport.
Whatever the case, there is no doubt that this will be the coldest weather we've seen in southern MB for at least two years. Last winter was the 4th warmest winter on record in Winnipeg, and was notable for its lack of snow and cold spells. There was only one 3 day cold spell with temperatures in the minus 20s, from Jan 17-19th 2012. So this upcoming cold spell will seem longer and more intense than usual, but in reality, it's a fairly typical mid winter cold spell for southern MB. Although temperatures will be some 10 degrees below normal much of the week, widespread record low temperatures or record wind chills are not being forecast. Still, the cold weather will come as a shock to residents who have forgotten how cold it can get here in southern MB. Bundle up folks! Relief isn't expected until next weekend into early next week when temperatures should finally rise to normal values for this time of year (highs of -13C), although some snow will likely accompany the warmup as well.