Saturday, 27 October 2012

Looking A Little More Wintery; Warming Up Soon

    The Winnipeg area is looking a little more wintery today as we got a bit more snow last night. Northern, eastern and central parts of the city got the most with about 1 to 2 cm, while only a dusting (about 0.3 to 0.5 cm) fell in southern parts of the city. Temperatures wont rise much today as we stay in cloud for the day again, with highs likely not rising above the freezing mark.
     To our west, the heavy snow that fell in Saskatchewan and Alberta earlier this week has not melted too much in the last few days as you can see on this morning's snow depth map I've attached below, thanks to sub-zero temperatures day after day. Calgary has not risen to the freezing mark in a week now (last time above freezing was last Saturday). Not unprecedented, but certainly quite the cold snap for this time of year. Temperatures are expected to warm up for the Prairies beginning tomorrow in Alberta and gradually eastward. Above normal temperatures are expected in Manitoba next week. Normal highs by then for Winnipeg are about 6°C.

5 to 25 cm of snow still on the ground in central/western parts of SK and in AB

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Rainy With Chance of Thunderstorms

      Showers have been falling through the day already today throughout southern Manitoba. A general 5 to 10 mm has already fallen in south/southeast Manitoba, including 5 mm in both Winnipeg and Steinbach. Heavier amounts have fallen in southwestern Manitoba with 10 to 15 mm from Portage westward and southwestward. Rain will continue to fall through the rest of the afternoon and through part of the evening, ending from south to north, with an additional 5 to 15 mm likely.
     Thunderstorms are even making an appearance in southeastern Manitoba already this afternoon with numerous lightning strikes already seen in the Sprague area.

UPDATE (Oct 24 7 AM): The 12.5 mm of rain recorded at the airport yesterday broke a daily rainfall record. This breaks the old record of 7.6 mm back in 1954. This rainfall event also brings Winnipeg up to 56 mm of rainfall for the month so far, which puts this October at 21st rainiest so far. If we get some more rain in the next week then that rank will get even higher. Normal October rainfall is 33 mm (1981-2010 normals).

     The threat for thunderstorms will continue for this southeastern portion of the province through the rest of the day. A few lightning strikes cannot be ruled out around Winnipeg and through into the Interlake and eastern Manitoba, however it will be more isolated in these areas.

     Consider ourselves lucky as Saskatchewan and Alberta experience an early season snowstorm today. Widespread amounts of 5 to 15 cm have been reported already by this afternoon, with locally higher amounts such as about 25-30 cm in Lethbridge, Alberta!

This is how Lethbridge, Alberta looks today. Photo by Mimi Gonzalez, via The Weather Network

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Unsettled, But Remaining Mild For a Few More Days

     It will be a mild day today, especially if we can get a little bit of sun come out this afternoon. If the sun comes out, highs in the mid teens are a possibility, especially in southwestern Manitoba. Winds will be a little gusty however, from the south. Keep in mind normal highs are now about 9°C or 10°C.

     It will be a mild night tonight as more cloud cover moves in, and there will be a chance for showers. In fact, due to some higher amounts of instability expected along a front, a few thunderstorms will not be out of the question anywhere north of the Trans Canada. It looks like western Manitoba and the Interlake will have the best chance. This front is expected to move through Winnipeg early in the morning tomorrow. It wont cool things off too severely as highs are still expected to be in the low teens for much of southern Manitoba.

     It will remain mild in the low teens to start next week, but it will also remain quite unsettled. A band of rain is expected Monday night, with perhaps 5 to 10 mm of rain locally. Will have more details in the comment section below as the day gets closer.

     A pattern change is expected later in the week as a rather strong storm system affects the Prairies and Ontario. It is a little early for specifics on this system, but a major snowstorm is in the cards for parts of the Prairies late week. Things are expected to get quite frigid behind this system, but the uncertainty right now is how cold it will get, and how far south this cold air will get. Stay tuned..
Graph from Accuweather's Brett Anderson Canada Blog

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Enjoy The Warmer Weather While It Lasts!

     Temperatures are rising into the low teens over most of southern Manitoba today under plenty of sunshine, near normal for this time of year and making it the warmest day in 11 days.

     Things will only get warmer over the next couple days. Sunday will be similar to today in the low teens; perhaps a couple degrees warmer in some places. Monday and Tuesday look to be the warmest days with a nice southerly or southwesterly breeze. Some uncertainty exists on how warm it will get, mainly due to the potential for cloud cover. If we manage to get lots of sunshine, then highs approaching 20°C are possible. However, if we get stuck in cloud cover, which is what some models suggest, we may be stuck in the mid teens.

     At this point, it looks unsettled mid week as a possibly-strong low pressure system is expected to bring some rain to the Prairies. Just how much we will get here, well it's a bit too early to tell. What I can say however, is that snowfall does not look like a major threat.

     Beyond that, the weather looks normal at this point with up and down bounces in temperature and chances for precipitation. No major prolonged cold outbreaks, such as what we have been seeing the past 2 weeks, are expected in the near-future. Of course, if things change I will let you know.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Snowfall Roundup

In Richer, Manitoba. Taken by Dianne Benson
     An intense storm system formed over South Dakota Wednesday and tracked northeast into northwestern Ontario Thursday bringing large amounts of snow and rain. Over 30 mm of rain fell south and east of Winnipeg late Wednesday into early Thursday with about 5 to 10 mm in the city itself. Rain changed over to a heavy wet snow Thursday morning, with the heaviest being south, east and northeast of the city. Snowfall amounts of 5 to 20 cm were common by Friday morning, with up to 25 or 30 cm southeast of Steinbach and in northwestern Ontario. The extreme wetness of this snow made it difficult to shovel, but also caused widespread tree damage and left thousands without power east of Winnipeg when combined with a stiff north wind. Roads and highways were extremely treacherous, and snow plows were out plowing the highways. Incredible for this time of year! The snow provided much needed moisture to the drought-stricken southeastern Manitoba, giving a break from fires.
     Strong winds off Lake Winnipeg also pushed water onto Gimli streets.

Here are some snowfall reports up 10 AM Friday. Reports from Ontario are up to 4 PM Friday

Kenora . . . . . . . . 32 cm
Sandilands . . . . . 30 cm
La Broquerie . . . .27 cm
Red Lake . . . . . . 26 cm
Vita . . . . . . . . . . . 25 cm
Pinawa . . . . . . . . 22 cm
South Junction . . 20 cm (near Sprague)
Bissett . . . . . . . . .20 cm
Garson . . . . . . . . 15 cm
Richer . . . . . . . . .10 cm
Oakbank . . . . . . . . 9 cm
Dryden . . . . . . . . .  8 cm
Steinbach . . . . . . .  8 cm
St. Vital Wpg . . . . . 2 cm (my report - up to 3 PM Friday)

Winnipeg, Central Park on Friday. Taken by Suganthi Ramachandran

     Temperatures will remain cool for the next week with highs remaining in the single digits. We may hit 10°C Sunday, but other than that, not much in the way of double digit temperatures in the near-future. More rainfall and potentially a bit of snowfall looks likely Monday. Models hint at a warmup in about a week and a half, so don't lose hope that winter is here for good just yet!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Early Winter Wallop

Parts of southern Manitoba will be white like this soon
     Just under a week after we experienced near 30°C weather, winter is expected to make an incredibly-early return to southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario Thursday into Friday. An intense low-pressure system is currently forming south of the border in South Dakota and will move into northwestern Ontario tomorrow. A tight pressure gradient with this system will pull in very cold air from the north into the system, allowing for heavy precipitation amounts, both in the form of rain and snow.

     For tonight, most of the precipitation will remain in the form of rain for southern Manitoba, especially the further north and closer to the lakes you are. The heaviest amounts are expected to be south and east of Winnipeg with up to 30 mm of rain possible. Further west and north, rainfall will be lighter and not-so widespread. However, areas downwind of the lakes will get some enhanced precipitation, giving some higher amounts in those areas. Winnipeg is expected to get some lake-effect showers tonight as north/northeast winds blow off Lake Winnipeg.

     Tomorrow is uncertain still at this point, but tomorrow is also when things get very intriguing. Heavy precipitation is expected to move in again from the south and wrap around in southeastern Manitoba into Thursday night and to start Friday. Much of this is expected to be in the form of snow with upwards of 30 cm possible to the east of Winnipeg, especially in the Sprague area. In Winnipeg, at the moment it is expected that we will be on the western fringe of this band of snow, therefore we are expecting to receive lighter amounts. However, lake-enhanced precipitation may be an issue. Elevation-enhanced precip will also be possible along the Manitoba escarpment.

     However, uncertainty is strong at this point as some models (NAM/GFS) are still bringing over 20 cm for the city, while GEM is only giving about 5 cm. Keep up to date on this situation on Rob's Blog as I wont have much time to update over the next couple days.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Snow Potential - [Not Kidding!]

     It is beginning to look like our warm weather may end more viciously than anticipated a few days ago. A low is expected to form over the US rockies over the next 24 hours and move east/northeastwards. The question right now is just how far north and west this system will move, to determine how Manitoba will be impacted.

     The problem is that this system will bring in very cold air from the north, meaning that a lot of the precipitation to the northwest of the system's centre will likely be in the form of snowfall. And this snowfall is expected to be heavy, and significant accumulations are not out of the question. In addition, winds gusting over 50 km/h are likely, which would give serious travel problems. Due to many differences among the models, there is not much more I can say until later tomorrow. I can warn you however that you may need your shovels in the next 3 days... or maybe not! It will depend highly on the track of the system. Will keep a close eye!

Monday, 1 October 2012

September 2012 Continues a 15 Month Trend

September quick stats - click to enlarge
Drought-like conditions dominated
     September continued a trend 15 months in the making. The month averaged warmer and drier than normal. Drought-like conditions plagued not only us here, but also most of western Canada throughout the month. Here in Winnipeg, only 4.0 mm of rain fell, just 8% of normal putting September 2012 as the second driest on record. It was the 4th consecutive drier than normal month. It also makes it the 37th driest month in history. That may not seem like something of interest at first, until you consider that there are 1678 months of precipitation data.

Top 5 driest Septembers:
1.    1.3 mm    1948
2.    4.0 mm    2012
3.    6.1 mm    1938
4.    8.6 mm    1897
5.    9.9 mm    1976

     Another interesting note about September was the large diurnal temperature variations. While daily highs averaged 1.9°C above normal, daily lows averaged 1.3°C below normal and tied for 21st coldest. The average difference between day and night was 15.8 degrees when normally it is just 12.6 degrees.

     As a result, both record highs and record lows were seen. The month started hot with highs in the mid to high twenties, but then things began to change mid month. The growing season officially ended September 14, a week earlier than normal. But then even colder weather dominated the third week with several days of below zero overnight lows. Snow even fell in parts of northwestern Ontario. The morning of the 23rd was enough to be considered ''frigid'' to many as temperatures dipped well below the freezing mark. Winnipeg dipped to -7.1°C, making it the 5th coldest September night on record. It was also the coldest September night in 47 years. The coldest spot in the area was Dugald at -9°C.

     In total, 7 days had lows below zero during the month, tying for 3rd most on record for the month. The following is a diagram demonstrating the frequency of below zero nights in September since 1872, showing that the amount of below zero nights this September was in fact unusual:

      Only a week later, record daytime highs became the headline. Temperatures approached 30°C on the 29th and reached the low to mid twenties on the 28th and 30th. The hot and sunny weekend coinceded nicely with the peak of the colour change of the leaves, pehaps making it one of the nicest Fall weekends in a while.