Saturday, 12 January 2013

Blizzard Summary & Cold Night Ahead

     The highly advertised Colorado Low swept through southern Manitoba yesterday and last night. Very strong winds sustained between 50 and 60 km/h along with gusts over 70 km/h combined with moderate snowfall to create blizzard conditions across the Red River Valley. This was the first blizzard since March 2011.

Snow drift gobbles up my old bike
     The precipitation had actually started as freezing rain and drizzle yesterday night which made roads and highways extremely slick. Some schools and bus services in rural areas were cancelled, and some people did not take the chance to commute into Winnipeg. Later in the day as the blizzard began in the evening, many highways were shut down including the Trans-Canada from Winnipeg to the Saskatchewan border and the Yellowhead. Visibility was next-to-zero in open areas.

     Between 10 and 15 cm of snow fell over Winnipeg in total last night, but it was a difficult measure because of all the blowing snow. Drifts were as deep as a metre in spots while exposed areas were swept clean. Between 15 and 25 cm of snow fell to the east and southeast of the city including in Steinbach.

     The following is video of the blizzard conditions thanks to Global Winnipeg.

[Video is by Global Winnipeg]

     Clearer skies, lighter winds and a new fresh snowcover will allow temperatures to drop to some cold values tonight. Lows in the low minus twenties are likely, and a few -30°C values are possible.


  1. No -30°C at the airport today. Looks like general lows between -28°C and -29°C in the city, with -29.7°C recorded at one station in St. Vital. Only a couple -30s were recorded in southern Manitoba. Here are some -30°C lows out of the Environment Canada stations in southern Manitoba:
    Pinawa -34°C
    Gimli -33°C
    Sprague -31°C
    Wasagaming -31°C

  2. Working on number one of the top 10 wx events of 2012, I really hope to get this over with before the next weekend.

  3. A few Alberta Clippers will develop in the northwesterly flow over the next week. The most recent one will be tomorrow. Snowfall is expected to begin sometime in the late afternoon and continue into the evening before pushing out overnight. 2-5 cm looks likely at this point.

    Next little clipper is sometime Thursday (time of day TBD). Again just a couple cm expected if we get any snow.

    Another little clipper possible next weekend, but it's a little far for details. Currently guidance suggests another couple cm.

  4. Not much has changed for the snowfall later today. Looks to begin sometime late afternoon, then continue through the evening before tapering in the overnight. 2-5 cm likely.

  5. Looks like like between 2 and 3 cm over the city last night in that brief band of heavy snow. The band was followed by freezing drizzle late evening and that really slick up the roads as a good amount of it actually fell (perhaps as much as 0.5 mm). Temperatures wont be rising this afternoon as we stabilize in the high to mid minus twenties.

    Tonight will be our next shot at -30°C, although we may just escape it. I think -30°C readings will be seen in the Red River Valley, but wether or not Winnipeg hits -30°C is not a guarantee. Will be interesting to see if we can escape it once again. We haven't hit -30°C since February 2011.

    Our next shot at snowfall will be Friday and Friday night thanks to another clipper system. At this point many models give us 5-10 cm, so it could very well be more significant than last night's snowfall. Will have more updates on it tomorrow and Friday morning.

  6. Looks like some light snow will begin overnight tonight and continue on and off through most of the day tomorrow. At this point it does not look significant with perhaps a couple cm. More snowfall will move in tomorrow night with another 2-4 cm likely. So in total it looks like 4-7 cm tonight through to Saturday morning.
    In addition, temperatures will rise tomorrow evening; we may get as high as -3°C or so before things begin to cool down overnight. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday look downright frigid with lows between -30°C and -35°C and highs in the mid minus twenties! A little warmer mid next week with the potential for more snowfall.

    That's how it looks right now.

  7. Looking likely I'll finally have the #1 of the top ten wx events of 2012 sometime tomorrow. Things will finally be getting back to normal afterwards.

    The snow came in as planned today and we've had about 4 to 4.5 cm of snowfall here at my place so far. A little break in the snowfall this evening before another area of snow sets up overnight and early in the moning tomorrow. Another 2 to 5 cm likely bringing grand totals in the 5 to 9 cm range for this system. Blowing snow will be an issue tomorrow morning, especially in the RRV and on the lakes thanks to strong winds developping in the morning. Visibility is expected to be very reduced in open areas so keep that in mind if you'll be driving around. EC may issue blowing snow warnings overnight if needed, but for now they have just issued a special weather statement.

    Very cold weather will be ushered in behind the system with falling temperatures throughout the day tomorrow. Lows in the minus thirties and highs in the minus twenties are expected Sunday through to mid week. Monday and Tuesday could be the coldest with morning lows in the mid minus thirties definitely possible. Bundle up!

  8. Snow will begin within the next 25 minutes in Winnipeg and continue through the night. 2-5 cm still looking reasonable.

  9. Got 3.6 cm at my place in south end overnight, bringing a total of 8.4 cm for this system (since yeterday night). 30.7 cm of snowfall so far this month and 104.0 cm since October.

    Blowing snow warnings have been issued for the Portage, Carman, Morden, Emerson, Morris, Steinbach, St. Malo regions for today as winds pick up this morning blowing all this new snow. Visibility wil get quite poor in rural areas later this morning so keep that in mind if you have travel to do. Temperatures will be falling through most of the day into the minus twenties.