Monday, 11 February 2013

Winter Storm Orko Just Scraped Manitoba; Snow Possible Wednesday

     The Colorado Low to our south and east (named winter storm Orko in the US) during the weekend produced some hefty snowfall amounts and blizzard conditions to some areas. 30-45 cm of snow fell in northeastern South Dakota, southeastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. This was accompanied by 50 km/h winds creating whiteout conditions. Some highways, including some major interstates, were shut down. This included a 500 km stretch of I-29 in South Dakota and North Dakota. Here's some snowfall amounts in some major cities, along with a map showing snowfall amounts, both courtesy of the NWS:

Moorhead, MN/Fargo, ND     As high as 25 cm
Grand Forks, ND                   10-13 cm
St. Cloud, MN                        17 cm
Duluth, MN                             17-20 cm
Minneapolis, MN                      6 cm

Courtesy of the NWS. (15 inches is approximately 38 cm)
     Based on this map, the Sprague region in the extreme southeast corner of Manitoba got about 5 cm or so yesterday and last night, which is pretty much what was expected. The snow did in fact not quite reach Winnipeg at all, with no snowfall reported yesterday. There were a few flurries overnight and early this morning, but they were not associated with Orko.

    Now with the forecast for southern Manitoba. Today, as you may have noticed already, is colder. This can be thanked to Orko which pulled down some colder air southwards. Highs will struggle to get much passed -10°C at Winnipeg airport this afternoon. However, sunshine returns today as drier air filters in from the north with this colder air clearing the moisture/cloud cover we had over the weekend. This cool down to more seasonal temperatures will be brief however. Mild Pacific air returns tomorrow with above normal temperatures. Highs in the high minus single digits are expected throughout southern Manitoba, but some areas may poke above the freezing mark locally, especially in the western RRV where a westerly downslope wind may help things warm up a little more there. It wont necessarily be very sunny tomorrow however.

     The mild weather continues Wednesday, but a clipper system moving from the northwest will bring in snowfall to Manitoba. However, even now, it is hard to pinpoint where the heaviest snowfall accumulations will fall because models are a little everywhere right now. GEM keeps the main snowfall along the Saskatchewan border with little to nothing in the RRV, while NAM brings in the heaviest snow in the RRV, southeastern Manitoba and the Interlake. I'm hoping things will be clearer tomorrow. I will be giving updates in the comment section of this post when they are available so please check in there from time to time. Heaviest hit areas could get as much as 10 cm with this clipper. Right now, I don't think freezing rain will be a concern with the clipper, but I'll see tomorrow.

     Behind the clipper, there will be a more pronounced cool down. We will return into the arctic air with below normal temperatures. However, at this point it doesn't look as cold as it was in January, with lows in the -20's and highs in the minus teens expected. Models hint at another clipper system Sunday or Monday, so we may get a brief warm up then with snowfall, but we will return into the cold next week. Right now, it looks like a cold second half to February with no major warmups to be seen yet.


  1. The summaries page has been reorganised! Be sure to check out how it looks now!

  2. Next page to be updated will probably be the St Vital data page, but I haven't really decided yet. This next update will likely be next week when I have the week off.

  3. The trend for tomorrow's snow is for the heaviest amounts to fall in southwestern Manitoba with only light accumulations for Winnipeg as the snow slides just to our south. Will update again late afternoon.

  4. Fantastic day out there today! Despite the cloud cover, the cloud is thin therefore a lot of sun has been still able to poke through. -1°C so far in Winnipeg, with a few stations within city limits poking above zero (such as Charleswood).

    As expected, temperatures in the western RRV have poked above zero for the most part including:
    Carman 1°C
    Gretna 1°C
    Winkler +0°C
    Portage 1°C

    Above zero temperatures are also in place west of lake Manitoba, likely due to the higher terrain. These include:
    Ste. Rose 2°C
    McCreary 4°C
    Ethelbert 4°C
    Swan River 1°C
    Dauphin +0°C
    Riding Mountain +0°C

    Basically the rest of southern Manitoba outside of the western RRV and over the higher terrain of western Manitoba are just a bit below zero. Still an awesome day. Enjoy it while it lasts!

    As for tomorrow's snow, it still looks like the bulk of the snowfall will pass over southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba, missing the RRV (including Winnipeg). There may still be a few flurries in Winnipeg, but nothing major if they do occur. Areas along the Saskatchewan border west of Brandon and in the extreme southwest portion of the province (Virden, Melita, Boissevain) could get as much as 10 cm tomorrow. 2-4 cm expected for Brandon. Snow in southwestern Manitoba will begin overnight tonight and continue through most of the day.

  5. I'd like to add that freezing rain is not likely with tomorrow's clipper, despite the warm temperatures. There may be some patchy freezing drizzle, but other than that no significant freezing rain is expected. As for wind, Manitoba will be spared. Light winds are expected tomorrow including in southwestern Manitoba. Southern and southwestern Saskatchewan will be taking the brunt of the winds tomorrow where winds of 50 km/h are expected. Here in Manitoba, winds wont pick up until tomorrow night and Thursday, therefore wherever there's new snow, there will likely be some drifting snow then. However, they wont be exceptionally strong thankfully.

  6. A few record highs were broken in northern Manitoba and one in the Interlake today, including

    Gillam -5.5°C (old -6.8°C in 2012)
    Lynn Lake -1.6°C (old -2.8°C in 1989)
    Thompson -0.5°C (old -2.4°C in 1977)
    Fisher Branch 0.9°C (old -0.9°C in 2005)

    All of those towns have at least 35 years of records.

  7. Not much has changed for my snowfall forecast today. Brandon, I'm still expecting 2-3 cm for you, 5-10 cm for the Melita area. Little to nothing anywhere RRV and east.

  8. There's a little break in the snow in southwestern Manitoba right now behind the first batch of snowfall. Another batch of snowfall is headed for tonight, so it's not over yet.

  9. We'll see a few flurries continue late this afternoon, not accumulating to much but making roads slick. We may see some more flurries on Saturday as well, again not much accumulation expected.

    A more vigorous system is possible during the Sunday/Monday timeframe. GEM is bringing 20 cm for the Winnipeg area, but other models give less. This storm will therefore definitely be one to watch. I'll have a new post talking about this storm either tomorrow or Saturday. Just keep in mind the commute on Monday could be tricky especially if we get strong winds.

    It will be a lot colder behind that system, with frigid temperatures expected mid next week.

  10. I've tried to find some snowfall totals from yesterday's snowfall in southwestern Manitoba, but unfortunately there are very few reliable snow measurement stations in the area. What I'm generally found is amounts near 5 cm along the Saskatchewan border west of Virden and near Melita and Estevan, SK. Only about a cm, at most, fell in Brandon. If correct, these amounts are a little low compared to what was forecasted, and than what I had expected. However, it's hard to say given the fact there aren't many stations that measure snow in that area. Highest amonunt I foun was a station just a tad south of the border which measured just over 10 cm.

  11. I've started the complete revision of the record books for Winnipeg, and unfortunately I have realised that Environment Canada has updated a large chunk of the data. As a result, I have eliminated a couple pages from my record books tab due to the sheer amount of data that has been updated. I hope to have these pages back and completely up to date as soon as I possibly can.

  12. A meteor landed on Russia this morning. The explosion it caused injured hundreds of people. Story here:

    An asteroid will also be coming dangerously close to Earth today, coming at a distance of just 27000 km, closer than most weather sattelites are from the Earth! Story here:

  13. New post will come tomorrow highlighting Sunday/Monday's storm. As of this afternoon, GEM and GFS bring Winnipeg 10-15 cm while the NAM has more like 5-10 cm. Very strong winds are expected Monday, which would create serious blowing snow especially if those 10 cm amounts become true. Will keep a close eye on this.