Sunday, 1 April 2012

Warmest and 3rd Rainiest March on Record, No Fooling!

March 10 sunset
     Yesterday's high of 18.8°C in Winnipeg was just 0.1 degrees shy of the old record of 18.9°C in 1963. The sunshine and temperatures that were 14°C above normal were a fitting end to an unprecedented month. As a result of yesterday's warmth, the monthly March mean temperature jumped to 2.2°C, easily making March 2012 the warmest March on record since records began in 1872. That's a whopping 8.3°C above the normal mean of -6.1°C, and 0.6° warmer than the previous warmest March of 1.6°C in 1878.

Top 5 warmest Marches in Winnipeg

1.  2012  ......   2.2°C
2.  1878  ......   1.6°C
3.  1910  ......   1.2°C
4.  1973  ......   0.5°C
5.  2000  ......  -0.1°C

     Daytime highs were also the warmest on record with an average of 8.0°C, 0.8° warmer than the previous warmest average of 7.2°C in 1910. Daily lows were the second warmest on record with an average of -3.6°C, just 0.2° shy of number one honours which belongs to 1878 with an average of -3.4°C.

     The month started cool and very snowy, with a major snowstorm on the first 2 days of the month. Sorry for reminding you lol! The storm dumped 10-15 cm of snow over the city, and raising snow depths up to 25 cm. This ensured that this March would not be one of the least snowy on record.

     The tables made a full 180° degree turn on March 10 when all of a sudden temperatures were consistently in the double digits for the next 2 weeks! That 25 cm snow depth melted down to 0 cm in just 4 days! The lack of snow cover allowed temperatures to soar to May-like values by the 16th. This particular bout of unprecendeted warmth would continue up to the 23rd. Day after day records were not only broken, they were obliterated. Some records were broken by over 7 degrees!! By the 24th, at least 25 records were shattered during the historic weather event, not only for temperature though. The entire list of records can be viewed here.

     Some temperature highlights include the earliest 20°C + day on record (March 18 at 20.9°C), the all-time March high temperature (March 19 at 23.7°C), the all-time March high daily minimum temperature (March 19 at 13.3°C), the all-time most above normal day for temperature for any day of the year (+23.4°C above normal on March 19), and the all-time March high humidex (humidex of 28 on March 19).

     Strangely, thunderstorms also made their appearance on a few occasions this March. 4 events brought lightning to southern Manitoba. 2 particularly intense events brought the biggest surprises on March 19 and on the night of March 26/27. Frequent lightning was seen during both events, as well as torrential downpours, and even some pea to dime sized hail early March 27. Storms were intense enough to ground flights on March 19, and both events knocked out power to many. Several rain events during the second half of the month made this March the 3rd rainiest March on record with 43.5 mm at the airport for the month.

Top 5 rainiest Marches in Winnipeg

1.  1945  .......  67.6 mm
2.  1878  .......  59.9 mm
3.  2012  .......  43.5 mm
4.  1902  .......  42.7 mm
5.  1983  .......  40.4 mm

March Photo Gallery

Name of authors included if I did not take the picture. Be sure to check The Weather Network's viewer photo gallery regularly to view awesome pics such as these.
March snow melt Progression from March 10 to 14. My own pics from my yard.
March 23 seed pods already coming out on my maple tree.
This is a full month earlier than normal!


  1. Looking like a very warm day again with highs near 18 or 19, perhaps 20 if we're lucky. Old record today of 19.4 in 1928 may be in jeopardy.

  2. Looks like a lot of lingering altocumulus will prevent us from rising to record-breaking values today. Looks like we'll top at 17 or 18 instead of 19 or 20.

  3. It's looking wet for southeastern Manitoba tomorrow, including Winnipeg. A few showers are possible in the morning, while the heavier more widespread rain moves in during the afternoon. Rain will be heavier the further east you are. 2-5 mm looks like a good forecast for Winnipeg, while closer to 10-15 mm is possible in extreme southeast areas such as Sprague. 1-3 mm for Portage and just a few sprinkles possible for Brandon. Will update in the morning.

  4. Winnipeg did not break a record today, but we came close. Some areas of southern Manitoba did break records such as:

    Melita 20.9°C (old 15.6°C in 2004)
    Portage 19.0°C (old 17.8°C in 1928)
    Brandon 18.7°C (old 16.7°C in 1928)
    Gimli 15.3°C (old 11.1°C in 1998)

    9 records were broken today in southern Manitoba, that list is just a few.

  5. I'm sticking with my forecast of 2-5 mm for Winnipeg, and 10-15 mm near Sprague. Although, thunderstorms will be possible with the rain southeast of Winnipeg, so locally up to 20 mm will be possible around Sprague in areas which get thunderstorms. Worst of the rain will be mid and late afternoon. Will update later in the morning if I have time.

  6. Cold front is currently passing over Winnipeg. Winds have switched to the NW, and will be strengthening over the next hour or two. Could be seeing NNW winds of 30 to 40 km/h and gusts of 50 km/h soon. Temperatures will also begin to fall soon, especially once it starts raining, so bye bye to the current 10°C. Looks like the rain will hold off for a few more hours until it finally begins. We may hear a rumble of thunder, but the majority of the storms look to stay to our southeast around Sprague if there are any.

    A system next weekend will have to bear watching. It could bring significant snow, rain and wind to whoever gets hit. Currently models are indicating it will stay to our north, but just yesterday they were saying we would be getting significant rain and snow. Will have to keep on eye on it.

  7. Area of rain and thunderstorms moving up from North Dakota looks to stay further southeast than expected. Line of showers to our west also diminishing so we may actually end up with little rain at all in Winnipeg today. I still think we'll get some showers though, but we'll have to wait and see. At this point 1 or 2 mm looks like the highest we'll get right now.

  8. Wonderful day out there; light winds and low humidity making it feel like summer in the sunshine. 17°C at my place, 15°C at airport so far today.

    Looks even warmer again tomorrow and again Friday, but the consequence will be strong winds. Tomorrow will be breezy, but Friday looks downright blustery with winds over 40 km/h likely. I'm already watching out for our next round of thunderstorms Friday night/early Saturday. Doesn't look like we'll see anything big, but I'll keep watching and updating.

  9. Also of note, looks unlikely that we'll break records over the next few days. Records are around 22 or 23°C from now to Friday. It is getting harder to break records now, now that old records are over 20°C for good, and wont be under that until November.

  10. Get ready for a series of extremely windy days this weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday all look to be downright blustery. Here's the wind forecast (afternoons):

    Friday S/SE 40 gusting to 60 km/h
    Saturday W/SW 50 gusting to 70 km/h
    Sunday W 40 gusting to 50 km/h


    I'll talk about rain, thunderstorms and snow later today. Yes, snow!

  11. Spectacular 18°C today, plentiful sunshine, what an awesome day! This is all going to change soon though..

    Tomorrow looks great if you don't mind the wind. We have a good shot at 20°C, but winds will be over 40 km/h from the S/SE.

    It's tomorrow night that things begin to turn around. It will be a warm and breezy night with lows near 10°C. A cold front will pass early in the morning Saturday. Showers and thunderstorms will be possible along the front, though the risk for thunderstorms is looking slim at this point. Instability and moisture look insignificant both at the surface and mid-levels, therefore we may just get a few scattered showers.

    Scattered showers will be possible again behind the system Saturday and Sunday, which could mix in with some flurries Saturday night and Sunday. Amounts look small, with less than 5 mm of rain, and just a dusting of snow at most looks like the most likely scenario right now.

    It's looking much cooler past Saturday. Highs will be in the low to mid single digits for half of next week, and overnight lows below zero. It will be hard to get used to the chillier weather after all the warmth we've experienced. Don't be too dissapointed just yet though, models hint at warming up late next week, but as usual check for updates in case things change.