Friday, 30 March 2012

Weekend Forecast

     Good evening folks. Here's the latest forecast for the weekend.

     Scattered showers and thunderstorms have developped in central Saskatchewan this afternoon, and are now making their march east. Most of the storms have developped between the Trans-Canada and the Yellowhead. As these showers and stoms move east tonight into Manitoba, most of the activity should remain to the north of the Trans-Canada. It is still hard to say though, and I would not be surprised if we had more rain and thunder than expected thanks to a strong low-level jet over 40 knots expected along the cold front.
     Basically, I'm saying we'll have to wait and see. Just keep in mind of the potential for showers and storms in the city between midnight and 6 AM. Check the comment section of this post for updates tonight.
7 PM analysis. Showers and thunderstorms in central SK. Line of showers west of Winnipeg as well.
     5-10 mm of rain is expected in the Interlake tonight, higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Winnipeg could see anything from a trace to 5 mm; storms will be more isolated the further south you go. A line of showers has developped to the west of Winnipeg as we speak, so we could see a few sprinkles this evening too, but nothing major.

     As seen on the map above, southern Saskatchewan was in the warm sector today. Temperatures approached the 20's today. Regina reached 21°C at 5 pm, which means today ties for the 3rd earliest Regina has hit 20°C on record. It was equally warm in Estevan and Moose Jaw at 21C.

     Temperatures will warm in southern Manitoba this weekend. Tomorrow will feature highs near 16C in Winnipeg, and closer to 18C near Melita. There will also be much more sunshine thankfully. It will be a little breezy, but nothing unbearable.

     Sunday though will be a bit of a tossup. Very warm air will try to nose itself into southern Manitoba, but models are disagreeing at just how far north that warmth will reach. Some put Winnipeg at a good shot at 20C, while others show highs around 12 or 13C. Either way, it will be hard to enjoy the warmth since winds will be very strong, at 40 and gusts to 60 km/h from the east or south east. Although, we will definitely be missing out on incredibly warm temperatures in the high twenties in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota. We may also see some thunderstorms Sunday, so stay tuned for updates.

     We may see some more rain Sunday night and Monday, though it doesn't look overly significant at this point. Updates will be provided later in the weekend.

    Hope you all have a great weekend! =)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring Showers

Photo Credit : Maya
     The unsettled weather we experienced yesterday will make several comebacks over the next week.

     Today will feature a mix of sun and cloud with slightly above-normal temperatures around 6 or 7°C. Don't let that fool you though, this sunshine wont last long.

     It's looking like a dreary day tomorrow with a band of moderate to heavy rain moving in late morning, and lasting through the afternoon. I don't think we'll see any thunderstorms within this line. Generally, 5 to 15 mm of rain can be expected, though slightly higher amounts are possible locally since the line will be convective in nature. Areas along the International Border can expect the heaviest amounts. It will also be cool and windy with winds up to 30 km/h expected, and highs only around 5 or 6°C.

     Friday will feature once again a mix of sun and cloud. Although, pop up showers will be possible, and even a rumble thunder will be possible in south western Manitoba thanks to a bit of instability. It will be isolated so most people wont see much if anything at all. More showers will be possible Friday night.

     And yet ANOTHER system is set to move in Saturday night, and continue Sunday into Monday. This one is looking like a doozy. Significant rainfall is expected, and this storm could even bring southwestern Manitoba and the Interlake another dose of heavy snowfall. At this point it appears over 20 to 30 mm of rain will be possible in the heaviest hit areas, with 10-20 cm of snow over southwestern Manitoba and Interlake. Stay tuned for updates on this storm.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Stormy Forecast

     Uncertainty still exists with the upcoming system which will give us precipitation tonight through to Tuesday night. We really wont know for sure until the thunderstorms begin developping south of the border later this afternoon and evening. Today is definitely a windy day, with winds from the south east at 30 or 40 km/h, and gusts over 50 km/h. Hold on to your hats!

     Here's my current best forecast for tonight and tomorrow:

     I'll be updating my forecast throughout the event, but here's how it looks so far. Some scattered showers are moving through southern Manitoba this afternoon, though it really isn't much. Most of us will likely see nothing until tonight.
     More organised showers and thunderstorms are expected to form south of the border in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana this evening. These storms will move northeastward into southeast Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northern Ontario later in the evening and overnight. Rain looks to be heaviest and more widespread in northwest Ontario, over the Interlake, and over southwest Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan. That being said, the highest risk for thunderstorms will be in south/southeast Manitoba and northwest Ontario. At this point it does not appear storms will be severe on our side of the border, though some bigger storms may give some small hail, gusty winds and torrential downpours. Areas that get storms will see higher rainfall amounts.
Map shows thunderstorm risk overnight tonight.
Light blue = small risk. Dark blue = medium risk
Details on storm potential by following tab at top.
     Generally, 5-10 mm can be expected around Winnipeg tonight with the showers, though higher amounts are possible if we get thunderstorms. At this point, it appears we will see a break in the precipitation in the dry slot tomorrow morning before wrap-around precipation takes over in the afternoon with an additional 5-10 mm possible by Tuesday night. This wrap-around precip. will dump heavy rain in southwest Manitoba and the Interlake where upwards of 30 mm of rain will be possible.     Rain will likely also make a switch over to snow in west and southwest Manitoba tomorrow afternoon and evening, and here in southeast Manitoba by Tuesday evening and overnight. 5-10 cm will be possible in areas north of Brandon, with 10-20 cm possible over higher elevations such as in the Riding and Duck Mountains. Areas around and south of Brandon, and over south-central and southeast Manitoba will likely only see meager snowfall amounts of less than 2 cm.
     All the precip. looks to be all set and done by early Wednesday morning, with a few lingering flurries possible in the morning before beginning to clear in the afternoon.

     Here's a map of predicted precipitation amounts by the GEM model for the whole system (tonight through to Wednesday morning). Please note that these amounts include both rain AND snow. Use the legend on the right for the colour-codes, and click on the image to enlarge:
     Thank you for taking the time to read my forecasts =)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Record Breaking Warmth Ends

      The warm weather is now over. Temperatures will return to more seasonal values for a couple days before warming back up next week. The cold front responsible for the cool down came through southern Manitoba early Saturday, producing some freezing rain, thunderstorms and heavy rain. 3 to 9 mm of rain fell over Winnipeg this morning with a band of heavy rain. Areas around Brandon had 'freezing thunderstorms' overnight (t-storm with freezing rain), a rare occurance in our area.
      At leat 25 records were broken in Winnipeg this month, truely exceptional and unprecedented. This is certainly the most intense warmth we have ever experienced in March, and the same is true for much of the eastern half of North America.
     Here is the entire list of records broken:

10 Records for daily highs

Date... REC HIGH (old record year)
Sun 11 ..... 12.8C (old 12.5C 1981)
Mon 12 ..... 9.7C (old 7.2C 1922)
Thu 15 ..... 14.4C (old 11.1C 1927)
Fri 16 ...... 19.9C (old 12.4C 1981)
Sat 17 ...... 19.2C (old 12.8C 1938)
Sun 18 ..... 20.9C (old 14.4C 1910) *also earliest 20C reading on record*
Mon 19 .... 23.7C (old 18.9C 1938) *also new all time March maximum*
Thu 22 ..... 21.7C (old 18.3C 1878)
9 Records for daily high minimums + 2 ties

Date... REC HIGH (old record year)
Mon 12 ..... 2.5C (old )
Wed 14 ..... 1.2C (tied with 1977)
Fri 16 ...... 2.8C (old )
Sat 17 ...... 3.2C (old )
Sun 18 ..... 4.4C (old )

Mon 19 .... 13.3C (old ) *also new all time March high minimum* *also earliest 10C+ daily minimum*
Tue 20 ..... 2.8C (tied with 1946)
Thu 22 .... 3.7C (old 1.7C 1945)
Fri 23 ..... 8.7C (old 6.7C in 1910) *also second warmest March daily minimum on record*

6 Other records
Earliest strong thunderstorm (March 19)
March 19 high daily rainfall (12.5 mm) (old 4.6 mm in 1931)
All-time March high humidex (humidex of 28.0, on March 19) (old 18.8 on March 30, 1967)
All-time March high dewpoint (? no data available)
Most significant departure from normal temperature for any day of the year (+23.4 above normal on March 19)
Most 20C+ days in March (3 days)

     This March will likely end up being the warmest March on record, unless if we get a dramatic cool down next week, which does not look likely.
     Stay tuned over the next few days as I track an upcoming major storm system for Monday and Tuesday. This one could be a doozy in southern Manitoba. Thunderstorms will be possible again, as well as drenching rains and very strong winds over 50 km/h possible. Some models are showing over 40 mm of rain, so it will certainly be the main story of next week.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Epic Record Streak Overview

     The record books got an extreme makeover the past 9 days. In total, AT LEAST 20 records were shattered in the city of Winnipeg in a period of 9 days! This is something that has not been seen in many years.
     Here is the entire list of records broken:

10 Records for daily highs

Date... REC HIGH (old record year)
Sun 11 ..... 12.8C (old 12.5C 1981)
Mon 12 ..... 9.7C  (old 7.2C 1922)
Thu 15 ..... 14.4C  (old 11.1C 1927)
Fri 16 ...... 19.9C  (old 12.4C 1981)
Sat 17 ...... 19.2C (old 12.8C 1938)
Sun 18 ..... 20.9C  (old 14.4C 1910)   *also earliest 20C reading on record*
Mon 19 .... 23.7C (old 18.9C 1938)    *also new all time March maximum*
Thu 22 ..... 21.7C (old 18.3C 1878)

8 Records for daily high minimums + 2 ties

Date... REC HIGH (old record year)
Mon 12 ..... 2.5C (old )
Wed 14  ..... 1.2C (tied with 1977)
Fri 16 ...... 2.8C (old  )
Sat 17 ...... 3.2C (old )
Sun 18 ..... 4.4C (old )  

Mon 19 .... 13.3C (old ) *also new all time March high minimum* *also earliest 10C+ daily minimum*
Tue 20 ..... 2.8C (tied with 1946)
Thu 22 .... 3.7C (old 1.7C 1945)

6 Other records

Earliest strong thunderstorm (March 19)
March 19 high daily rainfall (12.5 mm) (old 4.6 mm in 1931)
All-time March high humidex (humidex of 28, on March 19) (old 18.8 on March 30, 1967)
All-time March high dewpoint (? no data available)
Most significant departure from normal temperature for any day of the year (+23.4 above normal on March 19)
Most 20C+ days in March (3 days)

     An event of this calibre will likely never be repeated in a lifetime, at least not in March. The magnitude and extent of the record breaking warmth was epic. Large portions of Canada east of Saskatchewan, and also south of the border, recorded several consecutive days of records. In eastern North America, this trend is expected to continue for a few more days.
     The warmth will continue in Manitoba for the rest of this week, though not to the extent it did in this event. A few records may be broken this week, though not too many.
     Epic is the best word I can think of to describe this streak of records. How would you call it?

A few pictures from The Weather Network viewers of the thunderstorms last night :
*Top pic by Rolf Salfert in Winnipeg. Bottom pic by Chris Driedger near Manitou, Manitoba.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

History in the Making

     Several record highs were smashed in southern Manitoba today. The unofficial high of 14.4°C in Winnipeg today not only smashes an 85 year old record, but it also makes today the second warmest day on record for so early in the year. The only warmer day prior to March 15 was back in 2000, when we hit an amazing 16.5°C on March 6.

      Unofficial records broken so far today:

Location                New Record                     Old Record

Melita                         16.3                             (7.1 in 2003)
Portage                      15.9                             (11.1 in 1886)
Gretna                        15.1                            (10.8 in 2003)
Brandon                     14.9                             (10.6 in 1910)
Winnipeg                    14.4                             (11.1 in 1927)
Pilot Mound                 14.9                            (9.5 in 1999)
Dauphin                      13.7                            (10.0 in 1914)
Sprague                      13.7                            (11.5 in 2009)
Fisher Branch             13.2                            (9.0 in 1999)
Gimli                            12.0                           (8.2 in 1986)
Berens River               10.6                             (7.9 in 1986)

Total of 11 records so far

     Notice how much warmer today was compared to the previous records. Some highs today were as much as 9 degrees warmer than the previous record! Winnipeg surpassed its previous record by 3.3 degrees, while Brandon surpassed theirs by 4.3 degrees.

     Now if you thought today was impressive, wait until you see tomorrow's forecast.

    With a very strong southerly flow pumping in very warm temperatures tomorrow, and abundant sunshine, many areas in southern Manitoba could reach or surpass the 20 degree mark. If we do in fact reach 20°C here in Winnipeg, it would be the earliest we ever hit 20°C in a year. The old record tomorrow of 12.4C back in 1981 also clearly stands no chance.
     Saturday looks a little cooler, although things begin to heat up again Sunday and Monday with temperatures approaching and exceeding the 20C mark. Monday has the potential to be the warmest March day ever in Winnipeg, with the previous record of 23.3°C in potential jeopardy. Some models even show the potential for some thunderstorms around that time, although confidence in that is still uncertain at this point. Stay tuned for updates on the storm potential.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fast-Forewarding to Spring

     An unseasonably warm airmass has now given southern Manitoba record high temperatures for the 4th consecutive day. Winnipeg has already broken 3 records in this warm spell, and amazingly this is only the beginning. What we've seen so far is just a harbinger of what's yet to come. The snow pack is now mostly all gone; grass is now the dominant landscape feature. This will open the door to May-like temperatures to end the week, and into the weekend.

     Here are the records that Winnipeg has broken so far:

    Date.........Value............Type.................Old Record
March 11 -   12.8°C   high maximum   (old 12.5°C in 1981)
March 12 -    9.7°C    high maximum   (old 7.2°C in 1922)
March 12 -    2.5°C    high minimum    (old 1.6°C in 1995)

     Many more records are expected to be broken later on this week to add to that list. Keep in mind that normal highs around this time of year are around -1°C, while normal lows are closer to -11°C. Beginning Thursday, temperatures in southern Manitoba are expected to be at least 12 degrees above those norms.

      Here are the highs I am forecasting until Monday along with the record highs. As you can see, many records could be broken:

  Day.........Forecasted High........Old Record
Thursday           13°C                11.1°C in 1927
Friday                20°C                12.4°C in 1981
Saturday            16°C                12.8°C in 1938
Sunday              17°C                14.4°C in 1910
Monday              21°C                18.9°C in 1938
*Forecast updated March 15 7:45 AM
     If we do manage to hit 20°C in this time frame, which is certainly a possibility, it would be the earliest we ever hit 20°C since records began in 1873. Currently the earliest 20°C ever was on March 23, 1910 when we hit 22.8°C.

     At this point, it even appears we might squeeze in another warm-high teens day on Monday, although confidence in that is still uncertain at this point. It also appears very likely that warm weather will continue through most of the rest of March. NAEFS forecast still showing 90-100% chance of above normal temperatures late next week, and the beginning of the last week of March. CPC in the US also showing a good chance of above normal temperatures for the next 2 weeks. Stay tuned for updates...
NAEFS forecast showing 90-100% chance of above normal temps.
between March 21 and 28. The warm weather is here for a while!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Welcome Spring!

     Looks like we will be getting an early start to Spring after all. The warmup starts today, and this warmth is expected to last for up to 2 weeks or more. Temperatures will remain above zero for daytime highs, and for some nights as well. It is definitely safe to say that this winter will be the second winter in 140 years without a single -30°C reading.

     Temperatures today will reach around 5°C in the city, and that will be the norm for the next few days. Many models and forecasts are showing temperatures reaching double digits later next week, and that is certainly in the realm of possibility. Although, it wont happen until all this snow melts. Abundant sunshine, warm temperatures, some above-zero nights and even some rain in the near-future will definitely get rid of the snow for us, the question is just when.

     Monday could be an interesting day, as we will get brushed by a potential rain storm coming up from the US. Most models seem to keep most of the rain along the Ontario border, and in NW Ontario, although we may still get some showers here in the city. I'll keep you all updated on this system as Monday draws closer. Also stay tuned in the next week to see if we will break any warmth records.
NAEFS forecast showing ~80% chance of above normal temps between
March 18 and 25 in the Winnipeg area. Link here

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Winter 2011/2012, the Winter That Never Was?

     Well, it's finally March :) Although, it has felt more like March already since November!

     This winter was honestly one of the strangest winters ever across much of Canada. And has that ever been true in southern Manitoba.

     In Winnipeg, December was the 9th mildest on record, January was the 3rd mildest and February was the 14th mildest. As a result, with an average mean temperature of -9.7°C, winter 2011/2012 was the 4th mildest winter on record in the city, since records began in 1873. February also marked the 8th consecutive month above normal, a streak which began in July.

Top 5 warmest winters (mean temperature)
1. -7.2°C 1877/1878
2. -8.2°C 1997/1998
3. -9.5°C 1986/1987
4. -9.7°C 2011/2012
5. -10.1°C 1930/1931

     Here are the details of the winter:
     Despite technically being in a La Nina, a strong AO kept arctic air bottled up north throughout most of the winter. Mild Pacific flows of air were frequent as a result. 20 days from December to February saw temperatures above zero, above the normal of 10 days. That was quite meager in comparison to surrounding towns. For instance, Morden saw 41 days with above zero temperatures!

Biking in January
     Early January was especially startling with a week of temperatures not even dropping below -10°C. Temperatures were as much as 20°C above normal on some days, and that lasted for just over a week. January 5 was the highlight of the winter with temperatures reaching double digits across much of the western Red River Valley. Many all-time January high records were challenged that day, although not reached. Winnipeg's high of 6.7°C was just shy of the all-time January high of 7.8°C.
     We did not reach -30°C once this winter in Winnipeg, only the second time that has occurred since 1873. The coldest temperature was a measly -28.9°C, the warmest winter minimum on record.

     Another highlight of the winter was Christmas. It was a rare brown Christmas for much of southwestern Manitoba and the western/southern RRV. It was not officially a brown Christmas in Winnipeg, although snow depth was just 2 cm. It was the first brown Christmas in southern Manitoba since 1997. In WPG, since 1955 only 7 Christmases have had 3 cm of snow or less on the ground.

     Snowfalls were hard to come by this winter. At least, that was the case until late February when 4 systems dumped almost 20 cm over the city in about a week. December was the 9th least snowy December on record. From December to February, 44.2 cm of snow fell in the city, slightly below the normal 57.1 cm, therefore not overly significant. Although, melting was frequent, explaining why snow depth was so minimal. It certainly isn't every winter that you can see grass in January and February!
Christmas in Emerson