Thursday, 29 November 2012

Variable Pattern the Next Few Days

     Today will mark the last cold day until next week as a southerly flow ahead of multiple clipper systems over the next few days ushers in warmer air.

     These multiple clipper systems will bring snowfall here and there. 3-5 cm of snowfall is expected in Winnipeg and for much of southern Manitoba later today into tonight. Winnipeg's snow should fall this evening into the overnight.

     After this clipper, another clipper system will follow right behind it for Friday into early Saturday. The bulk of the precipitation with this one will remain in central Manitoba where 5 to 10 cm is likely for the northern Interlake, and western and eastern Manitoba. There will likely still be some scattered flurries for southern Manitoba, especially along and north of the Trans-Canada but amounts should remain insignificant.

     A more significant low pressure system, potentially a Montana Low, will move in Sunday night into Monday. The storm will pull in lots of warm air ahead of it and cold air behind it. The result is an uncertain forecast for southern Manitoba, especially in the southeast. Temperatures near zero or even just above zero will make the precipitation phases and amounts difficult to predict. Freezing rain, ice pellets, rain will all be possible before the changeover to snow. Areas to the north and west in southwestern, western and central Manitoba could potentially see over 10 cm of snowfall with the system. Stay tuned for updates.

     Behind that low, things look cold Tuesday but there may a quick rebound mid week followed by another cool down late week. It's far to be certain and precise, but that's how it looks right now. It could be a bit of a roller coaster ride next week.

     Also of note, this November has become the first colder than normal November in 9 years (last colder than normal November was in 2003)!

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Photo by: Kirsten Binda

     A clipper system brought 4 cm of snowfall to Winnipeg yesterday in a period of a couple hours. Blowing snow was an issue causing severely reduced visibilities in and around the city. An additional 2.0 cm of snow fell overnight bringing the total for this system to 6 cm in the city.

     The bulk of the snow has ended for now, other than for the odd flurry or two this afternoon and evening. Another band of snowfall is expected tomorrow night. We're only expecting about 1 to 3 cm with it however, so it is not expected to be very significant. The main story will be the cold for the next few days as overnight lows dip close to -20°C tonight, and we could possibly even get as low as the mid minus twenties locally. Things wont warm much in the afternoon as highs remain in the minus teens. These cold temperatures are expected to continue until late week as another clipper system is expected to move in. Another couple cm will be possible with that.

     The way this month is going, this may be the first colder than normal November since 2003!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Mild For a Few Days

     Daytime highs are expected to rise above zero through most of southern Manitoba today thanks to brilliant sunshine and a southerly or southeasterly flow. Areas with minimal snowcover and heavily forested will warm the most, such as in southeastern Manitoba. Sprague, which doesn't have much snow on the ground, has already risen to 7°C as of 11 AM and only saw a morning low of -2°C. In Winnipeg, we are expected to reach about 1 or 2°C at the airport, but within city limits highs between 3 and 5°C are not out of the question locally. This will allow for some of this snow cover to melt.

     Mild weather is expected to continue Monday through to Wednesday with daytime highs above zero expected. Again warmest temperatures will remain in southeastern Manitoba and within the city limits of Winnipeg.

     Cooler and more unsettled weather is expected late week with the potential for some insignificant snowfall (appears to only be about 2-5 cm at this point) which will likely slicken roads again.

     Beyond that, no major prolonged cold outbreaks expected in the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Winter Blast Coming To a Close

     A series of major low pressure systems have pummelled the Prairies over the past few days, dumping a wide swath of 10 to 60 cm of snow. No major city escaped this blast of winter. Here are some amounts in the form of a map, showing amounts that have fallen since November 7. Note that some of this data has not been verified for accuracy; the amounts come from Environment Canada's storm summaries and some are from Rob's Blog.
CLICK TO ENLARGE. Data is courtesy of Environment Canada and Rob's Blog and amounts are as of late afternoon Nov 11
UPDATE Nov 12: Here's a story about the 65 cm of snowfall that fell in Mafeking.

Snowfall Totals

     Well what a storm it became for southern Manitoba last night. Here are some preliminary snowfall totals as of this morning, thanks to Rob's Blog, Cocorahs and Environment Canada:

     Note that more snowfall is still falling in some of these areas this morning, therefore amounts are getting higher as we speak. It has stopped in Winnipeg, but we will likely continue to get periods of light snow here and there today, tonight and Monday. An additional 2 to 5 cm is possible.

     Note also that the Trans Canada is closed all the way to Brandon. Travel is highly unrecommend today.

     Here's a timelapse of the snowfall in Portage la Prairie. 

     I will continue to update these snowfall totals today and Monday.

     Meanwhile, record low temperatures are felt in Alberta this morning with lows in the -20's and windchills in the low -30's!!  Some unofficial records include: Claresholm at -28.5°C and Coronation at -27.4°C! Brrr!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Exceptional Snowfall Imminent

     Winter storm and snowfall warnings cover all of southern Manitoba as a major winter storm approaches. Light snowfall has already begun in southwestern and western Manitoba. However, the real heavy snowfall is expected to move in later this evening and especially overnight. This snow is expected to last through much of Saturday. Upsloping winds will also offer enhanced snowfall amounts for the western RRV and especially into the Duck and Riding Mountains.

     Snowfall is expected to continue into Saturday night with lingering periods of snow expected Sunday. Lingering fluries are still possible Sunday night, but beyond that things look to improve.

     Totals for this system are expected to be in the 20 to 30 cm range for many areas, with localized amounts between 30 and 45 cm possible over the upsloping regions I mentioned above. A few 30+ cm amounts are still possible elsewhere however.

     The precipitation is expected to mix in with rain, freezing rain or ice pellets for the southern RRV and southeastern Manitoba as the warm part of the system just grazes us. Great uncertainty still lies on how far west this warm sector will go, therefore at this point it is hard to say if Winnipeg will be getting some of this mixed precipitation.

     Winds are expected to be strong unfortunately, but thankfully not to an exceptional level; sustained between 30 and 40 km/h with gusts of 50 km/h. Blowing snow will be an issue as a result.

     As far as records are concerned, it will be difficult for Winnipeg to break the daily snowfall record tomorrow, considering it lies at 31 cm back in 1919. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Potential Winter Storm

     The seasonal temperatures we have been seing will be coming to an end soon. A major Colorado Low is expected to develop over the next few days and bring heavy snowfall to the Prairies, including southern Manitoba and parts of northwestern Ontario by Sunday. Uncertainty on the track of the system exists as is usual in these types of systems. Just keep in mind that the potential is there for up to 30 cm of snow Friday through to early Sunday for all of southern Manitoba. Hopefully we'll have a better idea on specifically who gets this heaviest snow soon.

     Meanwhile, there will be the potential for a few lightning strikes this evening as a low pressure system moves through the province. Nothing significant expected, albeit the fact that lightning is unusual at this time of year. Lightning and thunder has already been reported near Winnipeg near 7:30 PM.

Stay tuned..

Sunday, 4 November 2012

2012 Southern Manitoba Thunderstorm Season In Perspective

     First, let me introduce you to this new yearly post. I've personally been keeping stats on thunderstorms in southern Manitoba since 2010. I note every single day that lightning was detected, using lightning detection products from The Weather Network, Environment Canada and Intellicast. I also keep track of when severe thunderstorm warnings were issued by Environment Canada to get stats on the severe thunderstorm season. To compliment this data, I also note in what part of southern Manitoba these events occurred. To do this, I have divided southern Manitoba into 6 regions: West, Southwest, South, Southeast, East and Interlake. Before reading further, I highly recommend that you check out where exactly I consider these 6 regions to be by checking out this map. With this map, you will know exactly where I am talking about and which region your city or town is.
     Now, let's look at the 2012 thunderstorm season, starting with its length:

     The thunderstorm season began earlier than normal; it typically does not begin until April for most areas (normals can be found here). This was in large part thanks to the unprecedented warmth we experienced in March as the jet stream rose way further north than usual. The mid-March start was also about a month earlier than in 2010 and 2011.
     It was a loud start as well. Thunderstorms on March 19 were widespread and dumped torrential downpours and gave frequent lightning. This event brought Winnipeg its earliest recorded thunderstorm on record.
     Now, how about the frequency of thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings per region:

     Southwestern Manitoba was the 'stormiest' with 74 thunderstorms days and 19 days with severe thunderstorm warnings. This continues the trend of the past couple years as this region had the most in both 2010 and 2011 as well. For southern Manitoba as a whole, there were 34 severe thunderstorm warning days, much more than in 2011 when there were only 24. However, 2011 was abnormally less active. I do not have the actual numeric normal considering I only have 3 years of data.
     In the city of Winnipeg specifically, there were about 25 or 26 thunderstorm days in 2012, which is right around the normal of 27.
     Now, let's take the 109 thunderstorms days, 34 severe thunderstorm days and 2 tornado warning days in southern Manitoba as a whole and divide it monthly. Here's what we get:

     As per usual, June, July and August were the most active months of the year.
Arborg possible tornado June 16th by Kyle Kearney
     Tornado-wise, it was a very quiet year in Manitoba; intriguing when you consider that our western neighbour, Saskatchewan, had a record year for tornadoes.
     The only possible tornado to have touched down was in Arborg on June 16th. However, it was unconfirmed by Environment Canada. As a result, not one single tornado was confirmed in Manitoba this year. This is much below the normal of 7 to 10 tornadoes in Manitoba per year.

     To finish off, here's a couple notable thunderstorm events this year:

1-Swan River July 11 severe thunderstorms dump 77 mm of rain, causing severe flooding
2-Stormy May
3-July 29 windstorm
4-August 1 windstorm
5-July 25 Steinbach rainstorm dumps up to 111 mm of rain in a couple hours causing severe flooding
6-June 9 hailstorm

     I will have a country-wide severe thunderstorm season summary up in the next couple weeks.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Winnipeg Metro Dodges Bullet, But How Many More Will We Dodge?

     A swath of snow moved through southwestern and extreme southern Manitoba yesterday generally dumping between 2 and 15 cm. Luckily for the Winnipeg area, the snow remained to the south resulting in just a few flurries overnight which melted today. Here are some snow totals:

Brandon      11.6 cm
Winkler         6 cm
Portage        5 cm
Carman        3 cm
Winnipeg    0.4 cm

     Brandon was hard hit, here's a snapshot of how it looked like in the Wheat City today:

     Another swath of snow is expected to move into southwestern Manitoba tomorrow thanks to another clipper system. Again, at this point it looks like southeastern Manitoba including Winnipeg will likely dodge this one again, getting away with just a few flurries tomorrow night. 2 to 5 cm will be possible in southwestern Manitoba.

     Another clipper system is expected Monday into Monday night, and this one could be a little more pronounced for the Winnipeg area. A few cm of snow will be possible throughout southern Manitoba, with perhaps a cm or 2 around the city. However, there will also be the potential for some of the precipitation to fall as rain or freezing rain. Will have more details as the day gets closer.

     The big story of the week next week will be a potential significant storm system late week or next weekend. Models are already agreeing that a strong storm will form; now the question is just how far north it will extend, which will determine how much snow we get in Manitoba. This system could be significant with heavy snowfall over 15 cm and strong winds in some areas. It could spell the ''official'' start to winter as very cold air gets pumped south behind it. Stay tuned for updates on this potential potent system.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October Ends the Warm And Dry Streak

October 2012 in numbers. CLICK to enlarge
    October marked the end of a streak of warmer than normal months in Winnipeg. Using the 1971-2000 normals (which are still considered official by Environment Canada), the streak ended with an unprecedented 15 consecutive warmer than normal months, going from July 2011 to September 2012. The month also broke a 4 month streak of drier than normal months with significantly above normal rainfall. With 57.5 mm of precipitation at the airport, it was the wettest October since 1998. However, this airport amount is actually suspiciously low, mainly due to its dry bias on the October 4-5 rain/snow storm. Practically every other station in the city received between 70 and 85 mm of precipitation through the month.

     One daily rainfall record was broken on the 23rd with 12.5 mm, breaking the old record of 7.6 mm in 1954.

     The biggest highlight of the month was a significant early season snowstorm from October 3rd to 5th which marked a brutal end to the summer-like weather we had experienced just days earlier. 20-30 cm of wet snowfall fell south and east of Winnipeg. This extremely wet and heavy snow caused many problems including widespread power outages and treacherous roads. Winnipeg was spared the worst with only about 2 cm of brief accumulation.

     The month ended quite gloomy with day after day of cloudy skies and light precipitation. It could have been worse however, considering that many Albertans endured a week and a half of below zero daytime highs and snow-covered ground, and while Sandy pounded eastern North America.