Saturday, 4 January 2014

The #1 Weather Story of 2013 in The Winnipeg Area

#1 - The winter that overstayed its arrival; what a difference a year makes! 


Early April 2012 vs. 2013.. budding trees in 2012; still shoveling in 2013
     Spring 2013 was the polar opposite of spring 2012. In Winnipeg, 2012 featured the 2nd warmest spring on record while spring 2013 tied 7th coldest in the last century (and tied 18th coldest since 1872). Most impressive, March 2013 was a staggering 13 degrees colder than March 2012! April was worse, tying 3rd coldest on record and coldest in over 100 years.

     Out west it was even colder than Winnipeg with Brandon recording its coldest April on record since records began in 1890. The average mean of -3.5°C broke the old record set in 1893 by 0.6 degrees! Spring there ended up 3rd coldest and coldest since 1907. Remarkably, this follows the 2nd warmest spring last year.

     However, the story was more the consistency of the cold weather, rather than how extreme the cold was. Not a single record low was broken in Winnipeg. Instead, a remarkable 47-consecutive days of below normal temperatures occurred.

     Numerous milestones were reached when it comes to temperatures:
  • Only 2 days exceeded 0°C in March, tying with 3 other years for 3rd least since 1872. Normally we'd see 16 days above 0°C in March.
  • Did not reach first 5°C of the year until April 24, the latest on record. This beat the old record by more than a week! Normal is February 25.
  • Did not reach first 10°C of the year until April 26, 2nd latest on record. Normal is April 1.
  • Low of -20.2°C April 9 was the coldest in April since 1997 and tied 3rd latest occurrence of -20°C. Latest was April 12, 1881.
     The cold weather combined with a snowy winter to create one of the slowest and latest snow melts in recent memory. Snow depth entering into April was 40 cm and was still 30 cm by mid month. The winter snow pack did not finally reach a depth of a trace cm until April 27, the latest on record since 1955. This was also a month later than the normal of March 25.

     Other impressive milestones when it comes to snow were set:
  • Average snow depth of 48 cm in March, 3rd deepest since records began in 1955. Normal is 14 cm.
  • Average snow depth of 24.7 cm in April, 2nd deepest on record. Normal is just 2 cm!
  • We had the deepest winter snow pack for so late in the season on 4 occasions (April 22, 23, 24 and 25)
  • Winter snow pack (excluding trace cm as winter snow pack) lasted 168 days from Nov 10, 2012 to Apr 26, 2013 (46% of a full year)! This was the 3rd longest lasting winter snow pack since 1955. Normal is 119 days.
     Another consequence of the late spring was a delayed ice melt on Manitoba's lakes. There was still some ice on some lakes by the May long weekend.


  1. Strangely, this was one of the few nights the entire winter that the NAM weather model was correct with overnight lows and the GEM was way off. NAM was predicting around -37°C to -38°C yesterday, while GEM was closer to -31 to -32°C.

  2. JJ, that warmer weather coming later this week does that look like something that will prolonged or is it just for a couple of days then back to cold again?

    Thanks, Anon

    1. At this point it does look like it will last a few days, perhaps a week, but it's too early to say just how long. Do I think this a big turn-around to an extended period of well above normal temperatures... No. However, let's hope this will be the end of this seemingly endless curse of frigid weather.

  3. Low of -38.0°C at Winnipeg airport this morning. Will have an answer for you anon soon.. haven't been able to check the models since this morning.

  4. Also a high of -30.2°C today, which means we broke a record low maximum today! Old record -30.0°C back in 1912... assuming we don't creep up above -30°C before midnight but that's doubtful.

  5. Concur with your #1 weather story JJ.. That April was one to remember.. or rather, forget! A truly stunning difference from 2012. I wonder what Mother nature will have up her sleeve for us this year!