Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Top 10 Weather Events of 2011 - #7

#7 Spring Snowstorm    
Visible Satellite showing the extent
of remaining snowcover on May 2
     Just when we had thought we finally said good bye to winter, winter made an unwelcomed return to Manitoba on April 30 and May 1. In the RRV, what began as a rain storm on April 30 turned into a rude winter awakening on May 1. It turned out to be a very brutal start to the month of May. It was -5 C to start the day in Winnipeg, and that, combined with brisk northerly winds near 50 km/h brought wind chills of -15. With a fresh 5-10 cm of snow that fell overnight, blowing and drifting snow was occurring as well. It stayed below zero all afternoon, significantly below the average high of 16 C. The high for the day was a measly 0.2 C, attained in the evening. That broke a record for low maximum for the date, breaking the old record of 0.6 C in 2005.

     Conditions were much worse to our west. A blinding blizzard raged through south western Manitoba and south eastern Saskatchewan. 30-50 cm of snow, along with 80-100 km/h wind gusts created horrible road conditions. Along with scattered power outages in Saskatchewan, the majority of highways were shut down, including the Trans-Canada and Yellowhead.
     Many travellers and truckers were stranded in the middle of nowhere, in conditions where you cannot see two feet in front of you. Hotels and motels were filling up quickly all night by travellers seeking shelter. Even snowplows were not able to go on highways, as they would not be able to see what they were doing!
     Semis were also lining up along the Trans-Canada east of Regina, hoping and waiting for the reopening of the highway. Five people were killed in car crashes in western Manitoba due to the conditions.
     The storm only made the flooding situation more stressful. Floodwaters were being whipped up by winds, damaging some dikes. Waves ¾ of a metre high were seen crashing on sandbag dikes. Fortunately, ice was generally gone.

May 1-Winnipeg

No comments:

Post a Comment