Monday, 18 February 2013

Blizzard Claims a Life; Calmer Weather Begins Tomorrow

     This long weekend was not the weekend for travel in Manitoba as a vigorous Alberta clipper connected to a Colorado Low in the United Sates ushered in a whole variety of weather conditions. On Sunday, relatively balmy temperatures allowed for freezing rain, freezing drizzle, ice pellets and snow grains in the Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba. The worst of this was south of Winnipeg where freezing rain fell heavy enough to accumulate. Highways reportedly were turned into skating rinks. In addition, blustery south winds created drifting snow.

Massive drifts in Winnipeg Beach. Pic by @annhoogie
     Things then turned for the worst Sunday night as the centre of the low pressure system moved to the east. Cold air, snowfall and very strong winds were ushered behind the low Sunday evening. This continued throughout the overnight and Monday morning. Northwest winds were sustained between 40 and 50 km/h with gusts over 60 km/h at times. The strongest winds were in the southern Red River Valley with sustained winds of 60 to 70 and gusts as high as 80 km/h. These winds combined with newly falling snow created severe blowing snow and blizzard conditions throughout the Red River Valley for several hours. Total whiteout conditions were seen on highways outside Winnipeg. Black ice and snow drifts made travelling through the blowing snow even more challenging. As a result, most major highways were shut down for many hours including the Trans-Canada, highway 75, highway 16 and I-29 in North Dakota all the way to Grand Forks. Within Winnipeg, some motorists got stuck in drifts blowing onto some roadways. Snowfall ended late in the morning, but vicious winds continued to whip up the newly fallen snow through the afternoon.

     Hundreds of people were without power in the Windsor Park and St. James neighbourhoods of Winnipeg for part of Monday. In addition, the town of Île-des-Chênes south of Winnipeg also saw brief outages.

Absolute whiteout conditions in Emerson Monday
     Dozens of crashes were reported across southern Manitoba today, including a 10-vehicle pile-up west of Winnipeg near St. François Xavier Monday morning. No serious injuries were reported in that particular incident. In addition, many vehicles ended up in the ditch. A 54-year old motorist who got stranded in the ditch on Highway 210 west of Landmark was not so lucky. His body was found on the road about 50 metres away, and he was declared dead. RCMP are still not 100% certain what caused his death, but whiteout conditions were present at the time of the incident.

     As far as snowfall totals are concerned, it was a hard measure today thanks to all the blowing snow, but there were a few estimates. Highest amounts fell to the east and south of Winnipeg, with generally 10 to 15 cm reported. About 4 to 7 cm or so fell in Winnipeg. To some, it may have seemed like more but the blowing snow made it look like more. Some drifts are now as high as a metre in the RRV.

     This has been a snowy winter in Manitoba. About 124 cm of snow has fallen so far in Winnipeg since October, which is already about 7 cm more than what we normally get in an entire season (October to May).

     Winds are still strong this evening but they will be gradually winding down through the night with calmer conditions tomorrow. Temperatures will also be falling quite a bit tonight with lows in the mid to low minus twenties expected. We will struggle to exceed -20°C tomorrow afternoon. Wednesday will be similar with calm conditions, sunshine and cold temperatures only a few degrees warmer than Tuesday. Beyond that, the remainder of the week looks seasonal (normal lows are now about -17°C and normal highs around -7°C). Our next chance for some snow will be next weekend, however at this point it only looks like a few flurries and nothing that compares to what we experienced today.


  1. Most models are showing relatively dull weather for the next week; near normal temperatures and little precipitation.

  2. Hey JJ, I really love the look of your blog the detail is so amazing! I am hoping to create a thunder forecast for my blog this spring and I have a few questions about yours. How did you create the thunderstorm legend? I hope to use a legend like yours hopefully, is it at all possible If I could use Windows Excel to create the legend. Also how do you create the thunderstorm outlook maps, is it through Paint. Let Me Know, thank's! Keep up the good work on the blog!

  3. Hey Mike!!
    First, thanks for the compliment! :) You're the first to comment on my blog! Being the first, may I ask you how you found my blog; in google?

    As for your questions;
    -yes, I do use paint to create the maps
    -I created the legend with Microsoft Word

    Looking foreward to the t-storm season as I'm sure you do too!

  4. Hey JJ, I found your blog while looking for a Winnipeg weather forecast, very hard to find though. I think I will add your blog to my listing, to get more folk's over on your blog I have on average of about 100 or less people on mine a week depending on the weather, I hope that helps increase viewers a little. Oh yes I am very much looking forward to our thunderstorm season I cannot wait for our first major thunderstorm! Let's hope there is very little to no capping this spring and summer and possibly get perfect severe weather setups a couple times a week that actually take place. We just have to get through these stubborn winter temperatures and cloudcover.

    Question: Are you on twitter at all? I have an account named SouthMBWeather. Cheers!

  5. Thanks I'll add yours to my list as well.
    My twitter is @jjcwpg so you've already seen me :)

  6. JJ I forgot to tell you something, I usually use a program called Skitch to create some weather graphics for my blog and Twitter it would help you even more during the summer season when you create the thunderstorm graphics. I thought I'd let you know.
    Here is the address....


  7. Looks interesting Mike, there are a few things I could use it for. Thanks for the suggestion.

  8. I am pleased (and relieved) to announce that I completed the complete revision of the record books for Winnipeg. I caught a few bugs, but they are all gone now thankfully, so you can all trust that the data in my 'record books' tab is correct. Took me a month to do this complete revision as I had to go through every single month and year since 1872...

    Magnificent hoar frost out there this morning after some light fog overnight. Looks gorgeous with this blue sky!
    We may get a couple snowflakes here and there this afternoon into this evening, but I expect little to no accumulation if they do occur.
    We may get another light band of snowfall Wednesday, but again it doesn't look overly significant. I'm thinking that glorious sunny day advertised by the EC forecast for that day is too optimistic nonetheless. We'll at least see some cloud cover.
    We'll be missing out on a rather hefty Texas Low to our southeast though around that time frame so count us lucky :).
    Temperatures will reach the high minus single digits tomorrow and Tuesday with mainly sunny skies.

  9. Enjoy the warmth while it lasts... It is looking increasingly likely we'll see a cool down sometime next week. It's too early to draw to conclusions as to how cold it will get and how long it will last, but a period of below normal temperatures is increasing in probability. This cool down would follow a chance for snowfall Sunday or Monday. Will have more details as the days get closer.
    2 new posts will be posted on either Thursday or Friday; the February summary and the winter summary.

  10. The flurries I mentioned on Sunday that would move in today really didn't materialize at all and it is sunnier than I was expecting today for sure. Looks like we have really made the turn to a much drier pattern after it had been a snowy winter up until last week. What seemed like day after day of flurries and snow is now day after day of sunshine and no precipitation. I don't see any snowfall in our forecast until at least Sunday or Monday, but given what has been happening the past few days, I wouldn't be surprised if we missed out on the bulk of the snow again. Models are keeping most of it to our south right now.

    As for the cool down I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to scratch that idea for now as it is too uncertain what will happen next week right now.

  11. I'll post the February summary early tomorrow morning (between 630 am and 7 am) and the winter summary tomorrow evening.

  12. And yes that means today is the last day of meteorological winter! (Not to say we wont get any more cold weather, but at least the coldest part of winter is over)! In case you haven't heard, the government predicts a minor to moderate risk of flooding this spring. That makes sense to me even though there's a decent snow pack. We have just gone through 2 dry years (2011 and 2012) so the ground is relatively dry. However, we'll have to wait and see because surprises do happen (namely ice jams, etc...)