Friday, 1 February 2013

Bye, Bye For Now January

January 2013 stats and rankings. Click to enlarge.

     January 2013 seemed brutally cold to many, but in reality it was more typical than exceptional. Temperatures were near normal leaning towards a tad below normal thanks to a cold second half. In fact, the month was virtually divided into two; the first half was actually very mild with 3 days of above-zero temperatures and a few nights that never got below -10°C. The first 16 days averaged -12.0°C, about 4 degrees above normal.

     The last 15 days of the month were much less forgiving and a reminder of how cold it can get here in the winter. With temperatures averaging -21.6°C, it was about 5 degrees below normal for the period. Temperatures dipped below -30°C on 6 days late month, marking the first -30°C readings in Winnipeg since February 2011. Up to January 20th, we had gone 694 consecutive days without hitting -30°C, the second longest streak on record in the city (since 1872) and the longest on record at Winnipeg's airport (since 1938). The longest streak in the city was a 714-day streak from Feb 15, 1930 to Jan 29, 1932.

     In addition, breezy conditions brought nasty wind chills into the minus forties. Wind chill warnings were issued by Environment Canada on 5 days. School buses were forced to cancel services on some days due to the brutal wind chills.

     The colder weather was perfect for Winnipeg's many winter favourites such as the river trail which featured, for the first time, a pop-up restaurant on top of the ice. This was in sharp contrast to last winter when mild weather was abundant and ice was not.

     The month was snowier than normal. With just over 40 cm of snowfall, it was the 20th snowiest January on record since 1873 and 16 cm above normal. By month's end, snow depth sat at 40 cm in the city, double the normal of 20 cm. That makes it the 15th deepest snow depth at month's end (Jan 31) since records began for month's end snow depth in 1941. Since October, there has been 115.2 cm of snowfall in the city, already almost an entire season's worth.

     There were 3 major snowfalls, on the 11-12th, 18th-19 and 24-25th, each dumping between 8 and 14 cm. The main story was the wind associated with this snowfall however. The main event was on the 11th-12th when a blizzard swept through the Red River Valley associated with a Colorado Low:

     The 10th (a day before the blizzard on the 11th) had started with a beautiful sunrise; a harbinger of what was to come the next day (''red sky at night sailors delight; red sky at morning sailors take warning''). Drizzle the next night (heading into the 11th) had slickened up roads causing some schools and school buses to be cancelled in rural areas. Later in the day, winds between 50 to 60 km/h and gusts over 70 km/h combined with moderate snowfall to create near zero-visibility for several hours in the afternoon and evening, especially in rural areas. A large number of highways were shut down including the Trans-Canada and Yellowhead highways. Between 10 and 15 cm of snow fell over Winnipeg by the next morning, while higher amounts of 15 to 25 cm fell to the southeast of the city including Steinbach. The high winds carved out massive drifts, some a metre deep. Meanwhile, open areas were swept clean. This made it difficult to get accurate snow measurements. (video in Winnipeg, video from rural areas: vid 1, vid 2)

     High winds also created severe blowing snow on the 19th and 24th over southern Manitoba. Cemeteries in Winnipeg were shut down to the public on the 19th due to the amount of snow on the roads.

Jan 19 severe blowing snow in Emerson

1 comment:

  1. We got a little less snow than I was anticipating in Winnipeg today; we only got a dusting (between 0.3 and 0.7 cm or so). The bulk of the snow stayed to our west and southwest with a couple cm in some areas.

    Our next little clipper system looks to be as early as tomorrow afternoon. Again, it looks like the bulk will miss Winnipeg to the west, with a couple cm likely along the Saskatchewan border and just a couple flurries here in the city.

    Another clipper system is expected late Monday into Tuesday. This one at this point looks to bring Winnipeg some more snow with 2-4 cm possible. Will keep an eye on it. Gusty winds would create some drifting snow.

    Next week looks milder overall with temperatures close to seasonal to slightly above and slightly below on some days. More light clipper systems will be possible throughout the week. Not expecting anything huge at this point.