Saturday, 14 May 2016

April - First Colder Than Normal Month Since August

Snow April 1 in Winnipeg
It was a very cold start to April this year with frequent snowfall and consistently below normal temperatures up to the 12th. The cold conditions were a slap in the face considering the fact it was extremely warm, at times record warm, in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The harshest day was April 2nd. The high was a measly -6.4°C, not quite breaking the record low maximum of -13.3°C in 1954. Some light snow fell in the afternoon as well. This was in sharp contrast to out west where widespread record warmth occurred. Regina reached a record 22.3°C, breaking the old record of 21.8°C in 1991. This was a 28.7°C spread between Winnipeg and Regina on the same day! Parts of southern Alberta also reached the mid to high twenties in the first half of April, all while most of Manitoba was stuck in a cold pattern.

Temperatures finally warmed by mid month with the first 20°C of the year recorded in parts of Winnipeg on April 14. The airport didn't reach its first 20°C until April 20. Just as temperatures finally began to warm up mid month however, a 3-day rainstorm drenched southern Manitoba from the 15th to 17th as a strong low pressure system moved in from the US, pumping significant amounts of moisture from the south. A general 25 to 60 mm fell in the Red River Valley with the highest amounts close to the US border. Generally 35 to 45 mm fell in Winnipeg specifically. Southwestern Manitoba even received some more snow with the system with the highest amounts in Riding Mountain where an estimated 15 cm fell on the 15th.

Maple tree budding April 25 in Winnipeg
Another system brought 5 to 10 mm of rain along the US border on April 24, bringing monthly totals over 60 mm in some locations including 62.1 mm in Emerson.

Other than some ice pellets in the evening on the 23rd, the remainder of the month was quiet and seasonal.

Overall, April averaged 2.8°C in Winnipeg, 1.7°C below normal and the first colder than normal month since August. This ends a 7-month streak of warmer than normal months. April was much warmer out west as mentioned. Calgary averaged 8.8°C, the second warmest April on record. This follows a 3rd warmest March and 2nd warmest February. The west has been on a serious warm streak this year.