Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Manitoba Pummeled By Heavy Snowfall

Morris, MB. Taken by Brent Neff on Monday

       A fairly vigorous Alberta Clipper (although it wasn't much of a clipper!) pummeled southern Manitoba to start this work week. Areas southwest of Winnipeg were hardest hit. Heavy bands of snow continuously circulated over these areas yesterday allowing for jaw-dropping snowfall totals in the 30-60 cm range by Tuesday morning. In addition, as expected the easterly winds allowed for enhanced snowfall amounts along the escarpment thanks to upsloping. I have created a snowfall totals map (click to enlarge):

Amounts courtesy of Environment Canada and Rob's Blog; map courtesy of Google Maps. CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
      I have also put some of these totals in the form of a table, in case some of you prefer it that way, which you can view by following this link.

Carman, MB. Pic by Dwayne
      Winnipeg could have gotten even more than the 13-19 cm fallen if it wasn't for a blob of dry air sucked into the system over the city for a few hours midday yesterday. That break in the snow likely spared the city from a much more major accumulation. As mentioned, areas to our southwest were not so lucky. Not only was snowfall extreme, but winds of 30 and gusts to 50 km/h carved out impressive drifts. In some areas, drifts reached the bottom of the roofs of some homes, including in Brandon where 20-30 cm fell.

     Highway closures were not numerous with this storm however. Only parts of highways 5 and 16 were shut down for several hours during the event. Several crashes were reported across the province as well.

     There were even a few power outages in Winnipeg during the event thanks to some downed power lines. 5,500 people were offline temporarily in Linden Woods yesterday.

     The official snow depth for Winnipeg as of today stands at 55 cm. This is the deepest snow depth since the great blizzard of 1997. Despite the significant increase in snow depth across the Assiniboine and Red River watersheds, the province still expects a minor to moderate chance of flooding this spring. The key reason for the lower chance this year despite all the snow is soil moisture. After 2 consecutive dry years, the ground is quite dry and can take in more moisture than it would if it were saturated. That is what makes this year so much different from spring 2011 when soils were saturated.

     We have now had about 143 cm of snowfall since October in Winnipeg. This is about 25 cm above the approximate 1981-2010 normal of 117 cm for an entire season (from October to May).

Taken in Brandon by Erol Kamali
      Please note that overnight parking bans will be in place in the coming days in Winnipeg. Check here for details.

     This storm marks the anniversary of the March 4, 1966 blizzard and March's biggest daily snowfall on record on March 4, 1935 (38.1 cm). It seems big storms happen often on March 4!


  1. Still expecting another clipper system tomorrow. It doesn't look significant for areas along and south of the Trans-Canada. The bulk of the snow is expected to stay north of the Trans-Canada. 5-10 cm will be possible from Swan River eastward (should stay north of Gimli but Gimli could get a few cm. Winnipeg will likely get some flurries but not much more. However, GEM global gives the city 6 cm but that model is just an outlier at this point. I don't think we'll see much in the city.

    Attention then goes to Saturday. A Colorado Low will be just scraping the province. Right now GEM/GFS/NAM all give only a couple to 5 cm all the way west to Winnipeg. Will have to be watched closely for trends.

  2. Guidance points to a miss with the Colorado Low on Saturday. Not a very high chance we'll get hit, but it's good to mention just in case. Will be a messy system south of the border nonetheless with freezing rain, rain and snow depending on the location.
    Meanwhile for tomorrow, some of the models have pushed the system a bit further south. As a result, it will be a close call for Winnipeg. Right now I'm thinking 1-3 cm for the city. 5-10 cm expected north of the Trans-Canada.

  3. Unfortunately the Woodlands radar is shut down right now (I don't have access to information regarding why it has). As a result, it's hard to say how much snow we'll get this evening in Winnipeg but based on the Foxwarren radar in southwestern Manitoba, I think we'll at least get a few flurries later this evening. We likely wont see a large accumulation, a dusting to 1 cm most likely.

  4. Starting Monday I will rebegin making my daily forecasts for the city of Winnipeg. These can be viewed in the 'Winnipeg forecast' tab at the top of the page.
    The 'photos' tab is next in line for a facelift. That will be done sometime this weekend.
    In addition, I plan to begin adding Calgary to my record books very soon.
    Lots of improvements going on in the next week! This is because I'm trying to get all these improvements finished before summer.

  5. That Colorado Low will remain to our east tomorrow, however that doesn't mean we're out of the clear with any snow. A seperate weak clipper system will offer the chance for some light snow tomorrow afternoon and evening. If these flurries do occur, we shouldn't see significant accumulution.
    Right now there's multiple chances for some snowfall next week, but it's too early right now to confirm when and how much.

  6. By the way, today marks the 57th consecutive day without reaching the freezing mark. Sadly, no major chances for above zero temperatures are foreseeable in the near-future.

  7. We're really sandwiched between two systems here in the RRV including Winnipeg today. A clipper system over southwestern and western Manitoba is giving those areas some steady snow this morning. 2-5 cm expected in total, including Brandon. This clipper system is expected to weaken and dissipate slowly throughout the day, therefore we likely wont get that much snow in Winnipeg. However, some light snow or scattered flurries will be possible this afternoon and evening nonetheless. It's certainly possible we could get 1 cm or so, but I'm leaning towards less than 1 cm right now. Unfortunately, the Woodlands radar is still down today which will make difficult to know if snow is coming or not.
    To our east, a Colorado Low. At times today, that low may push a bit of snowfall along the Ontario Border, including Sprague. However, being only right on the edge of the system, only minor accumulations of 1-3 cm are expected.

  8. Special Weather Statement for areas of southwestern Manitoba from the US Border north to Brandon to Dauphin and west of Lake Manitoba. The main concern with that band of snow this morning is how heavy the snow is with 2-5 cm in only a couple hours. Visibility below 1 km at times expected. As I already mentioned earlier, the system will slowly weaken as it moves east.

  9. A reminder to move your clocks ahead 1 hour tonight! Looks like it will back to the darkness waking up in the morning for work and school for a week or two. I was just getting used to leaving the house in the sunshine! :(

  10. The Photos page has now been improved. I have also added an educational posts section to the page as from time to time I do have these sort of posts. Be sure to check the page out! The only pages left for a facelift is the record books which will take some time.

  11. Next chance for snow will be tomorrow as a weak clipper system moves into the province. It doesn't look overly significant right now, but that depends on which model you look at. GEM gives Winnipeg little to nothing while the NAM brings around 5 cm or so. I'm personally leaning towards the lighter solution. 2-4 cm is expected in southwestern and western Manitoba however, with locally higher amounts possible.

  12. I need your feedback!
    I have made a new format for the record book pages in hope that it makes them more attractive and easier to read, but I am not sure which everyone prefers. Here are the two options, the new format and old format.. Let me know which one you prefer! Thanks!

    Old format: http://puu.sh/27DOD
    New format: http://puu.sh/2fjSe

    I have also noticed that my blog is best viewed in firefox or google chrome. For some reason, the layout of the blog doesn't work too well in internet explorer.