Sunday, December 25, 2011

A rare brown Christmas for southern RRV, southwest MB, North Dakota..

It was a rare brown Christmas for portions of southern MB and much of North Dakota this year as the spell of unseasonably mild and dry weather that has persisted much of December continued through the Christmas holiday weekend. Much of the southern and western Red River valley (incl Emerson (above left), Morden and Carman) , southwest MB (Pilot Mound to Melita) and much of North Dakota (Grand Forks, right) were snowfree Christmas morning.. the first time this has happened since at least 1997. In Winnipeg, there was a little more snow around with about 2 cm on the ground Christmas day (an official "white" Christmas here) although most large open fields in and around the city had little or no snow cover (see webcam shots from south Winnipeg and Sanford). This is the lowest Christmas day snowdepth in Winnipeg since 1997 when a trace was officially observed at Winnipeg airport during a strong El Nino winter.

Satellite photos (left) show the minimal snow cover extent across southern MB and North Dakota, with little snow evident over the southern and western Red River valley and North Dakota and Minnesota.. which normally would be covered in white by this time of year. Click here for an explanation on this winter's slow start. Whether it was brown, white or green.. here's hoping everyone had a happy and healthy Christmas! All the best in 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Staying mild and storm free through Christmas..

The above normal temperatures and tranquil weather of December is forecast to continue through the upcoming Christmas holiday weekend, with little in the way of major weather systems to disrupt holiday travel plans across southern MB. Temperatures are expected to remain 5 to 10 degrees above normal through early next week as mild Pacific airmasses periodically sweep across the Prairies keeping cold Arctic intrusions at bay. In fact, above freezing temperatures are forecast for Christmas Day into Boxing Day as another push of Pacific air sweeps in over the holidays. This will likely mean a brown Christmas for portions of southern MB this year, especially towards the US border into North Dakota (see webcam page). For Winnipeg, we will likely end up with whatever we have now.. a meager coating of about 2 or 3 cm with no significant snowfall expected between now and Christmas. The longer range outlook calls for above normal temperatures to continue through the end of December, with no signs yet of a major pattern shift to colder and snowier weather over the southern Prairies. For you snowlovers out there, have faith though.. technically, winter is just starting! (winter solstice arrives tonight at 11:30 pm CST)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Day snow stats for Winnipeg

Here are some Winnipeg Christmas snow stats looking at how often Winnipeg has had a White Christmas. These figures are based on snow on the ground measurements from Winnipeg airport from 1955-2002, and Charleswood from 2003-present. (Note that official snow on ground measurements start in 1955 at Winnipeg airport)

Christmas day snow on ground stats (Winnipeg since 1955)

Least snow on ground....... TR (1997) *
Most snow on ground......... 80 cm (1955)
Average snow on ground.... 16 cm
* Prior to 1955, there have been at least 3 Christmases with no snow on the ground in Winnipeg: 1939, 1913, and 1877

Last 10 Christmases..

2010 ......... 23 cm
2009 ......... 10 cm
2008 ......... 24 cm
2007 ......... 28 cm
2006 ......... 11 cm
2005 ......... 14 cm
2004 ........... 8 cm
2003 ........... 4 cm
2002 .......... 12 cm
2001 .......... 12 cm
2000 .......... 30 cm

Since 1955, there have been 7 Christmases in Winnipeg with 3 cm or less on the ground. There have been 6 Christmases with 30 cm or more on the ground (last one was Dec 2000). This year it looks like we'll end up with 2 or 3 cm on the ground Christmas Day, barring any unexpected snowfalls between now and Sunday. That will be the least amount of snow on Christmas day in Winnipeg since 1997 (although we had a paltry 4 cm in 2003).

Prior to 1955, there have been 3 Christmases documented in Winnipeg with no snow on the ground, although these are not part of the official climate record. They were 1939, 1913 and 1877. (Click here for a Winnipeg Tribune article on the rare "green" Christmas in 1939 in Winnipeg that year.) There was also reference made that in Dec 1834, the first snow of the season in Winnipeg fell on Dec 28th.. so it's possible Dec 1834 was also a brown Christmas (but then, we don't know what they considered the first significant snow back in 1834)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where's the snow? Snow drought continues over southern MB..

The lack of snow this month in Winnipeg and southern MB is becoming quite evident with barely any snow on the ground just 10 days before Christmas. In Winnipeg, only 0.8 cm of snow has fallen so far this month as of the 15th, with only a couple of cm still on the ground. Parts of the southern Red River valley are actually snow free as is much of eastern North Dakota.. raising the prospect of a possible brown (or "green") Christmas this year with little in the way of significant snowfalls expected over the next week or so.

In Winnipeg, the 0.8 cm of snow so far this month is well below the monthly average of 19.8 cm.. and is on pace to be one of the least snowiest Decembers on record if the snow drought continues. The last December in Winnipeg with less than 10 cm of snow for the month was December 1997 when only 7.3 cm fell during a strong El Nino winter. Below is a list of Winnipeg's top 10 least snowy Decembers since records began in 1872.

Top 10 least snowy Decembers in Winnipeg (since 1872)

1. 1877 ............ 0.5 cm (warmest December and winter on record)
2. 1892 ............ 1.3 cm
3. 1931 ............ 2.0 cm
4. 1899 ............ 2.8 cm
5. 1954 ............ 3.3 cm
6. 1939 ............ 3.6 cm (Green Christmas)
7. 1907 ............ 4.6 cm
8. 1896 ............ 4.8 cm
9. 1959 ............ 5.3 cm
10. 1957 .......... 6.1 cm

As can be seen from the table, there have been several Decembers with meager snowfall.. so we still have a ways to go to enter the top 10. It doesn't take much to get a snowfall of 5-10 cm or more in December, so by no means is it a sure thing. But the way things have been going, the potential is there for a top 10 finish.

So what does a lack of snow in December mean the rest of the winter as far as snowfall is concerned? Not much really. Of the top 10 least snowy Decembers, about half had above normal snowfall the rest of the winter, and half had below normal snowfall. So there really isn't a correlation between December snowfall and the rest of the winter. So if you're itching for some of the white stuff, take heed.. we still have a lot of winter left!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Freezing drizzle leaves icy conditions in Winnipeg/southern MB...

Freezing drizzle was observed across Winnipeg and much of southern MB today as a moist mild airmass brought extensive low cloud and misty conditions across a large part of the Northern plains and eastern Prairies. The image here is what the Bishop Grandin webcam looked like this evening in the south part of Winnipeg, a result of a coating of freezing drizzle on the webcam lens. Kind of pretty actually.. looks like an impressionist oil painting! Freezing drizzle can sometimes occur in moist stagnant airmasses in the winter when temperatures are close to but below freezing, although it's not as serious as freezing rain which can lead to greater ice accumulations in a shorter time. However, an extended period of freezing drizzle can leave a thin coating of ice on exposed surfaces, with slippery conditions on untreated roads and walkways. Drier and colder conditions are expected overnight into Thursday as brisk northwest winds usher in a colder airmass from the north. Temperatures will return to normal over the next couple of days before another warmup this weekend. Some light flurries are possible from time to time, but overall no significant snowfall is expected over the next week as the snow drought continues over southern MB.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Milder for the weekend.. cooler again next week. Snow continues to evade southern MB..

Cold weather today will give way to milder weather this weekend as a milder Pacific airmass spreads across the Prairies. Temperatures will climb into the minus 2 to minus 5C range over the Red River valley for the weekend, with light winds and partly sunny skies. Cooler air will follow Monday into Tuesday, but temperatures should be close to seasonal averages which are now close to -10C for highs and -20C for lows.

As far as snow is concerned, there is little in the forecast over the next little while. Models continue to show a lack of major weather systems affecting southern MB over the next week to 10 days.. with the exception of a potential storm system passing through Minnesota late next week which may affect parts of southern MB by next Thursday or Friday. Other than that, things look pretty quiet as snow bearing systems mainly bypass us well to the north, or to our southeast. This will come as bad news to snowlovers out there, but will be welcome news to those who aren't as fond of the white stuff. So far, we've had less than 1 cm of snow in December, with only a minor coating still on the ground.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Snowy weather set to return tonight..

After a couple of spring-like days over the Red River valley that saw the snowpack virtually disappear with temperatures in the +8-13C range, wintery weather is set to return by this evening as a weather system crosses southern Manitoba. Snow is expected to develop across the Red River valley by early this evening as the system gets organized, with a risk of some freezing rain or ice pellets at the onset. Snow will continue tonight into Saturday morning with accumulations of around 5 cm by the time it tapers off. As the system moves into NW Ontario Saturday, gusty northwest winds of 30 to 50 km/h will develop over southern MB with temperatures near the freezing mark. Clearing skies are expected for Sunday with above normal temperatures into early next week.

UPDATE: 8 am Nov 26th: 6.4 cm of snow at my place since last evening. 6 cm snow on ground. Snowfall total since Nov 1st: 22 cm. Normal Nov snowfall: 21 cm.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Record mild day over parts of southern MB.. more records likely Thursday..

It was a mild day over southern Manitoba today with plenty of sunshine and a southwest flow tapping a mild Pacific airmass spreading across the Prairies. Temperatures rose to the 7C mark in Winnipeg, even with a coating of snow on the ground, while temperatures soared into the double digits over the snowfree southern Red River valley. Gretna at 12.4C set a new record for November 23rd, beating the previous record high of 7.2C in 1962. Pinawa (6.5C), Gimli (7.6C) and Fisher Branch (8.6C) also set new record highs today. Further south Grand Forks soared to a record 14.4C. More records are likely Thursday over southern MB as the mild airmass remains over the area, with highs of 7-10C over the northern RRV, and 10-13C over the south. For Winnipeg, a high of +8C is forecast Thursday, which would be a record high for November 24th (currently 7.2C set in 1907)

Cooler but above normal weather is forecast for Friday, before a system brings some snow to southern MB Friday night into Saturday with a few cm possible.

UPDATE: (Thu Nov 24th) Winnipeg Airport hit 9.7C this afternoon.. easily beating the previous record high of 7.2C for the day. Even milder readings were found over the western Red River valley including Portage, Carman, Morden and Gretna at 12C. At least 7 record highs were set across southern MB this afternoon. MB hot spot was Cypress River at 12.5C. Note that Winnipeg's latest double digit temperature was an 11.7C reading on Dec 6 1939.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nice warmup on the way this week

If the cold weather this weekend was a little too early for your liking, take heart.. warmer weather is on the way across the Prairies this week. A surge of mild Pacific air will push into Alberta Monday and then spread into southern SK and southern MB Tuesday into Wednesday, pushing temperatures above the freezing mark once again. The mild weather is forecast to continue through the end of the week before a brief cooldown on the weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clipper to bring more snow by Thursday night.. colder weather for the weekend..

An Alberta clipper system is forecast to track across southern Manitoba Thursday night bringing a band of light to moderate snow mainly along and north of the TransCanada corridor. Snow from this system will spread into western Manitoba Thursday afternoon and push into the northern RRV Thursday evening. Snowfall amounts of 2-5 cm are likely by Friday morning with 5-10 cm possible over the Riding Mtns and southern Interlake. (see attached HPC probability map of snowfall>= 5 cm) The snow should pull off into NW Ontario Friday with northerly winds bringing in colder weather for the weekend. High temperatures will only reach the -8C range while overnight lows drop into the minus teens.. with -20C possible in some areas.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Weekend storm system brings first significant snowfall across southern Manitoba

The storm system that tracked across southern Manitoba over the weekend brought the season's first snowfall to much of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg and the Red River valley last night. Light rain yesterday changed to snow in the evening and continued overnight bringing a coating of about 3-4 cm of wet snow to Winnipeg by Monday morning. The heaviest snowfall with this storm system however was concentrated towards the SK border where 20-30 cm of snow was recorded near the Swan River area beginning Saturday night. Here are some snowfall reports from the latest storm..

Mafeking .............. 28 cm (between Swan River and The Pas)
Cowan ................. 28 cm (east of Swan River)
Swan River ........... 20 cm
Roblin .................... 17 cm
Gilbert Plains ........ 17 cm (west of Dauphin)
Grand Rapids ........ 14 cm
Elkhorn ................... 14 cm
Rossburn ................ 14 cm (western Riding Mtn Park)
Oakbank ................. 6 cm
Winnipeg ................ 3 cm (Rob's Obs)
Steinbach ............... 2 cm

Friday, November 04, 2011

Weekend system to bring rain to RRV.. snow towards SK border..

The storm system that will be affecting southern Manitoba this weekend is expected to track across the western RRV Saturday night pushing through the Interlake towards the Ontario border Sunday. The bulk of precipitation with this system is expected to fall north and west of the low track, with most of the precipitation falling as snow towards the SK border. Snow is expected to develop over eastern SK late Saturday then spread northeastward towards the MB border Saturday night into Sunday morning. Snow will then continue over the northern Interlake pushing across the north basin of Lake Winnipeg during the day. At this point, it looks like a general 10-15 cm of snow is possible along the SK/MB border especially from Roblin up through the Swan River area towards The Pas. (see graphic from NOAA HPC showing probability of 10 cm or more snowfall) Similar amounts of snow are expected over neighbouring eastern SK. Further south, some light rain is expected to fall over the RRV Saturday night into Sunday, possibly mixing with a few wet snowflurries by Sunday afternoon as colder air wraps in behind the system. Overall though, the bulk of wintery weather with this system is expected to fall well north and west of Winnipeg. People planning on travelling through the Swan River/Roblin/Yorkton/Kamsack areas late Saturday into Sunday should be prepared for winterlike driving conditions.

UPDATE.. 8 am Nov 6. Here's a webcam image from Assessippi ski resort this morning along the MB/SK border near Roblin. At least 10 cm of snow was reported in the area overnight with another 5 cm or more expected today before things taper off. Road conditions in western MB and southern SK are listed as snowcovered and slippery this morning with travel not advised on some highways.

Some snowfall observations from southern MB and SK last night into today..

Mafeking, MB ......... 27 cm (between Swan River and The Pas) (5 pm)
Pelly SK ................... 24 cm (west of Swan River near Kamsack) (5 pm)
Grand Rapids MB ... 14 cm (6 pm)
Yorkton SK .............. 10 cm (8 am)
Roblin MB................. 10 cm (8 am)
Rossburn MB ........... 9 cm (8 am)
Regina SK.................. 6-10 cm (8 am)
Saltcoats SK ................ 8 cm (SE of Yorkton) (8 am)
Gilbert Plains MB .... 5 cm (west of Dauphin) (8 am)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Storm system still threatens rain/snow over southern MB this weekend..

Models continue to indicate the likelihood of a storm system emerging out of the central Rockies and moving into the northern Plains this weekend, bringing an area of rain and wet snow over southern MB Saturday into Sunday. As usual with these systems, determining where the rain/snow line will set up is difficult to pinpoint several days ahead.. but a growing consensus is emerging that the bulk of the snow will likely fall mainly west and north of the Red River valley (especially in areas with higher elevation), with mainly rain over the Red River valley and SE MB. Even here though, rain may change over to snow Sunday morning as colder air wraps in on the backside of the system, with some slushy accumulations possible before the area of precipitation moves out. Again, the storm system is still a few days out and things can change.. so stay tuned as we monitor the progress of this potential first snowmaker of the season for parts of southern MB.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dry and mild for Halloween.. Potential Colorado low storm system threatens rain/snow for upcoming weekend..

It will be ideal weather for trick or treating this evening with above normal temperatures and dry conditions forecast. Cloudy skies this morning will give way to afternoon sunshine along with brisk southerly winds of 30-50 km/h that will send temperatures up to the 10-11C mark this afternoon. For this evening, expect partly cloudy skies and temperatures of +5 to +8C, with diminishing southwest winds... about as good as it gets in southern MB for Halloween.

The rest of the week looks uneventful with generally dry weather and above normal temperatures. Attention will then turn to the upcoming weekend as models are indicating the potential of a Colorado low storm system moving into the Northern Plains spreading an area of rain and snow over the Dakotas and southern MB Saturday into Sunday. At this point, it's still too early to be more precise on what areas will see snow and what areas will see rain, if any. Currently, models are suggesting that the storm will track from Colorado through Nebraska into NW Minnesota with the rain/snow line setting up somewhere through the RRV. This would give a higher threat of rain over southeastern MB and snow over southwest MB. This of course will be highly dependent on the actual track and intensity of the storm which is still in question. Still, it's the first potential storm of the season for us to monitor.. and we'll stay on top of it to see how it unfolds. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seasonable weather this week

Generally dry and seasonable weather is expected over southern Manitoba over the next few days as a zonal flow predominates over the central continent. Today will be a beautiful fall day over the Red River valley with sunny skies and temperatures of 10-13C (warmest in the south) although some cloud is spreading over the northern valley through the Interlake regions (towards Gimli and Grand Beach). A system passing through the Dakotas is forecast to spread cloud and some precipitation mainly south of the border Monday night into Tuesday. A ridge of high pressure will follow in the wake of that system bringing generally dry and seasonable weather for the remainder of the week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brisk and cool this weekend.. lake effect showers possible

It will be a brisk and cool weekend over southern Manitoba with increasing northwesterly winds as a strong storm system intensifies over northern Ontario this weekend. Northwest winds of 30-40 km/h Saturday will increase to 40 gusting 60 km/h Sunday as the storm system intensifies. The cool northwest winds blowing over the 13C waters of the Manitoba lakes will generate bands of lake effect showers mainly off Lake Winnipeg, with localized bands of rain to the southeast of the lakes. Brisk and cool conditions are expected through early next week with temperatures in the single digits before calmer weather by mid week.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Wild winds whip Winnipeg, Red River valley

After several days of unseasonably warm temperatures, a cold front swept through Southern Manitoba late Friday bringing very strong winds mainly through the Red River Valley along with a few late season thunderstorms. The band of thunderstorms even produced pea to marble size hail in a few localities through the Interlake. Behind the front, very strong southerly winds developed by mid to late afternoon with gusts of 90 to 110 km/h recorded across much of the Red River Valley including Winnipeg. The winds were strong enough to bring down trees and power lines in parts of Winnipeg resulting in local power outages. The strong winds were also fanning two large brush fires south and east of Steinbach.

Some of the strongest wind gusts recorded Friday from Environment Canada and private weather monitoring sites:

South perimeter (Winnipeg)........ 108 km/h
Altona ........................................... 108 km/h
Winnipeg brady landfill............... 101 km/h
Oak Bluff ....................................... 100 km/h
Rosser ............................................. 98 km/h
Whyte ridge (Winnipeg) .............. 98 km/h
Lockport ........................................ 98 km/h
Miami ............................................. 98 km/h
Morris ............................................ 98 km/h
St. Laurent ..................................... 97 km/h
Winnipeg airport............................ 95 km/h at 6:09 PM
Steinbach ........................................ 95 km/h
Morden ............................................ 95 km/h
St. Adolphe....................................... 95 km/h
Narcisse ........................................... 93 km/h
darlingford ...................................... 93 km/h
Brunkild ........................................... 93 km/h
Fannystelle ..................................... 93 km/h
La Salle............................................. 91 km/h
Emerson ......................................... 89 km/h at 6:47 PM
Deerwood ...................................... 89 km/h at 3:27 PM
Portage la Prairie.......................... 89 km/h at 4:12 PM
Victoria Beach ................................ 89 km/h at 5:24 PM

At my site in Charleswood, my station's recently roof-mounted anemometer recorded a peak unadjusted wind gust of 76 km/h at 6:06 pm, the highest wind gust at my station since I installed it in Aug 2001. Note however that up until last month, my anemometer was never roof mounted but lower to the ground, so it's hard to compare with my previous wind history. Nevertheless, it was a strong wind event. Note that my website displays an adjusted wind speed that is 30% higher than the raw wind speed indicated by my weather station. This is to compensate for the less ideal exposure at my location, which is surrounded by trees and residential homes. I have found that 30% makes my wind readings more comparable to standard wind readings taken at well exposed sites at 10 metres (33 feet). Adjusting the raw peak gust value of 76 km/h by 30% would give a value of 98 km/h, which is line with peak gusts recorded in south Winnipeg Friday. I may tweak this adjustment factor down to 20-25% once surrounding trees are bare.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Very windy conditions Friday..

It's been a windy day over Winnipeg and the Red River valley with southerly winds gusting to 70 km/h at times this afternoon. But even stronger winds are possible Friday as a cold front pushes across southern Manitoba. This front will be accompanied by a band of showers as well as some isolated thunderstorms as it moves across the Red River valley in the afternoon. Behind the front, a strong south-southwest push of cooler air will flood in, with gusts to 80 km/h at times. These strong southerly winds will persist through the afternoon before diminishing somewhat by evening. Cooler and breezy conditions are expected Saturday behind the front with lighter winds and more pleasant conditions Sunday. A few showers are possible by Thanksgiving Monday.

9:10 am UPDATE: A wind warning has been issued for the Red River valley including Winnipeg for very strong southerly winds this afternoon gusting to 90 km/h or higher. Click here for real time Winnipeg airport wind readings (in knots)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Winnipeg closes in on all time October high temperature

Today's already one for the record books.. with Winnipeg airport's 28.6C as of 1 pm surpassing the record high for Oct 5th of 28.3C set back in 1943. The question now is.. could Winnipeg set an all time high temperature today for any day in October, which currently stands at 30.5C on Oct 1 1992? The potential is there.. with a few more hours of heating left this afternoon along with gusty south to southeast winds tapping warm air to the south, lots of sunshine, and low humidity. Since 1872, Winnipeg has hit the 30C mark in October on only 3 occasions.. Oct 1 1992 (30.5C), Oct 1 1922 (30.0C) and Oct 6 1879 (30.0C) The way things are going, today will be another to add to the list. One for the record books!

3 pm update: It's official! Winnipeg records hottest October day ever with a temperature of 30.8C as of 3 pm today. (Final reading 31.1C) Previous warmest October day was Oct 1 1992 at 30.5C. Records go back to 1872. Temperature may still climb a bit for the final reading today.  Temperature at my Rob's Obs site hit 31.7C at 3:39 pm (see temperature graph left).

The record day today was accompanied by gusty southerly winds up to 60 km/h, tapping 925 mb temperatures of 25C (see 19Z 925 mb plot) This, along with plenty of sunshine and low humidity, resulted in surface temperatures of 30-33C across the Red River valley. Manitoba and Canadian hot spot today was Portage La Prairie at 32.8C. See Free Press article on record setting day.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Warm and windy Wednesday.. record breaking temperatures possible.

The summerlike conditions over southern Manitoba will continue Wednesday.. with even warmer temperatures expected. Gusty south to southeast winds up to 60 km/h will bring in unseasonably warm air from the Dakotas, with temperatures rising into the upper twenties over Winnipeg and the Red River valley. In fact, it's possible that some localities may touch the 30C mark Wednesday. In Winnipeg, a high of 28C is forecast which is very close to the day's record high of 28.3C set on Oct 5 1943. If Winnipeg hits 28C tomorrow, it will be the warmest October day in the city since Oct 1 1992 when we hit 30.5C. Note however that the record warmth will be accompanied by strong southerly winds up the valley which will gust to 60 km/h by afternoon. The unseasonably warm conditions, accompanied by low humidity and strong winds will create dangerous fire conditions.. and in fact a fire weather watch has been posted for the Red River valley in North Dakota.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Awesome autumn continues..

An upper ridge of high pressure over central North America will continue to bring dry and warm weather over southern Manitoba through the first week of October. Temperatures will climb into the mid 20s much of the week, some 10 degrees above the normal high of 15 for early October. The warm dry start to October this year is similar to last year which saw summerlike conditions through the Thanksgiving weekend. For today, temperatures in southern Manitoba will range from the 20 degree mark through the Interlake region to 24C along the TransCanada corridor and up to 27C near the US border. The good news is that winds today will be a lot lighter than Saturday's gusty values so conditions will be more comfortable and temperatures will feel warmer. Look for sunshine and highs in the 24-27C range the rest of the week over southern Manitoba, with increasing south winds again by Wednesday. Unsettled weather is expected by next weekend (Thanksgiving) with a few showers and cooler conditions moving in. Until then.. enjoy the fine fall weather!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After the deluge.. turning warm and dry through the end of September..

After Tuesday's soaking rains which brought 25 to 75 mm of rain to the RRV, conditions will be turning dry and warmer the rest of this week through the weekend and into next week. A large upper ridge of high pressure will build over the Prairies bringing a prolonged stretch of sunny dry and warm weather over central Canada over the next week or so, including southern Manitoba. After a frosty night tonight, temperatures will rebound into the mid teens Thursday with light winds, then into the mid 20s over the weekend as warmer air spreads in. Long range models are indicating the dry and warm weather should continue over southern Manitoba through the end of the month. Fall officially arrives this Friday, so it looks like a nice warm and dry start to autumn. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rain by Tuesday.. windy and warmer by end of week

The new week will start off on a dry and mild note with sunshine and temperatures rising into the low to mid 20s. Unsettled weather however will move in overnight Monday into Tuesday with occasional rain and possible thunderstorms, along with gusty northwest winds and cooler temperatures. Models are hinting that rainfall may be heavy at times Tuesday over portions of southern Manitoba and the RRV, with 20-40 mm possible in some areas. This system is expected to clear out by Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure builds in over southern Manitoba. This will be followed by increasingly windy and warmer weather by the end of the week into the weekend as the ridge moves east and a return southerly flow sets up over southern Manitoba. Gusty south winds will allow temperatures to rise to above normal values in the mid 20s by Saturday. The autumnal equinox arrives this Friday the 23rd.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Widespread freeze tonight.. warmer weather for end of week into next week

The first blast of fall like weather pushed into southern Manitoba yesterday, resulting in below normal temperatures, gusty north winds, lake effect precipitation and frost over parts of southern Manitoba this morning. Well below normal temperatures continued today with brisk northwest winds keeping temperatures only near 10C this afternoon. For tonight, a ridge of high pressure over Saskatchewan will build over southern Manitoba bringing clearing skies and light winds. This will lead to a widespread freeze over southern Manitoba by Thursday morning, with overnight lows of -1 to -4C forecast in most areas. (Downtown Winnipeg and areas along the MB lakeshores should escape the freeze tonight) The first frost over Winnipeg and the Red River valley usually isn't until the third week of September, so this year's first frost is arriving about a week earlier than normal. Sunny and milder weather will develop Thursday into Friday as the high pressure ridge pushes east and we get into a moderating southerly flow. A frontal system pushing in from the west threatens showers for Sunday.

Cold outbreak brings first lake effect of the season over southern Manitoba

The first cold outbreak of the season brought some lake effect showers yesterday through last night into this morning off the Manitoba lakes, with a few narrow bands of significant precipitation to the southeast of the lakes. Most of the precipitation fell as rain thanks to the 18C lake waters, however precipitation was mixed at times with ice pellets or graupel and even some wet snowflurries in some areas. The radar image to the left shows a 6 hour precipitation accumulation between 3 am and 9 am, and nicely shows how the main lake effect bands were oriented, with a NNW flow of 330-340 degrees bringing narrow bands of precipitation off Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. The bands produced 5-15 mm of rain off Lake Manitoba through the High Bluff-Elm Creek areas, about 5 mm in the Pinawa region, and 10-15 mm near Fischer Branch. 850 temps of -4C were moving over 18C lake waters to produce the lake effect, which was generally cellular and disorganized during the day, becoming more pronounced overnight. The bands weakened during the day Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure built in from the west.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Falling temperatures, lake effect precipitation and frost.. fall weather pushing into southern Manitoba today..

A cold front through central Manitoba this morning will push south today, ushering in a flow of unseasonably cold air from Northern Manitoba southward. This front will be accompanied by a few showers as it moves across southern Manitoba around midday today, followed by gusty northerly winds and falling temperatures this afternoon. The flow of colder air over the warm lake waters of the Manitoba lakes will likely set up some heavier bands of rainshowers off Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba later today into tonight, with narrow bands of locally heavy precipitation possible mainly east and west of Winnipeg. Strong northerly winds of 50-70 km/h will also cause large waves and rising water levels along the south shores of the lakes today into tonight. Things should settle down Wednesday as high pressure drifts across southern Manitoba easing winds and weakening lake effect precipitation. This area of high pressure however will likely produce the season's first widespread frost across southern Manitoba Thursday morning with temperatures of 0 to -3C likely in many areas including the Red River valley.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Record heat possible today.. fall like weather arriving early next week..

The long hot dry summer of 2011 continues today over southern Manitoba with another 30C+ day on tap.. our 4th in a row in Winnipeg, and the 23rd occurrence of 30C or more temperatures this year. Several record highs are likely again today over southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg where 1998's mark of 32.4C set on this date in 1998 is in jeopardy. Another summerlike day is expected Sunday with temperatures in the upper 20s, not quite as hot as today as we get into a light northeast flow of somewhat cooler air.

Big changes are on the way though as we get into Monday and Tuesday. A cold front will push through southern Manitoba Monday with clouds and a chance of showers, with gusty northwest winds developing bringing in cooler air. By Tuesday and Wednesday, high temperatures will only be in the low teens along with clouds and brisk northwest winds along with some lake effect showers off the Manitoba lakes. High pressure will build in by Wednesday and Thursday which will likely produce the season's first widespread frost to southern Manitoba. Moderating temperatures are expected by the end of the week into next weekend as temperatures return to more normal values for this time of year (around 20c). So enjoy the warm weekend.. this could be summer's last hurrah!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Beautiful first week of September ahead

Cool unsettled weather over southern Manitoba today will give way to clearing skies and more pleasant conditions Sunday as a ridge of high pressure builds in from the west. Temperatures Sunday will still be a couple degrees below normal for early September, but lighter winds and more sunshine will result in a more pleasant day than Saturday. The ridge will move east of the province on Labour Day resulting in a southerly flow of warmer temperatures in the low 20s for the last day of the holiday weekend. The rest of the week looks fabulous as an upper ridge builds over the Prairies allowing sunny skies and increasingly warmer air to build over southern Manitoba through the upcoming week. Look for sunny skies and mid 20C temperatures as the kids head back to school Wednesday with temperatures rising into the upper 20s to near 30C by Thursday and Friday. The summer of 2011 ain't over just yet!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

5th driest summer on record at Winnipeg

The summer of 2011 will go down as the 5th driest summer on record in Winnipeg since records began in 1873. The 93.0 mm of rain recorded at YWG airport from June through August was over 140 mm below the 3 month summer average of 235 mm, about 40% of normal. The summer was the driest since 2006 when 91.5 mm was recorded. The dry weather took hold by the last week of June, which carried through the driest July on record (10.0 mm) into a drier than normal August (37.5 mm) Between June 23rd and August 18th, there were no daily rainfalls greater than 5 mm at YWG airport as convective storms evaded the city, much to the delight of sun worshippers, but to the dismay of farmers who saw crops wither in the hot and dry weather. The dry weather however was not widespread over southern Manitoba. Southwest MB and the southern RRV experienced more normal amounts of rain during the summer, with the driest conditions mainly over the northern RRV and eastern MB.

Top 5 driest summers - Winnipeg (since 1873)

1. 1929 ........ 76.7 mm
2. 1886 ........ 77.2 mm
3. 1961 ........ 91.0 mm
4. 2006 ...... 91.5 mm
5. 2011 ....... 93.0 mm

Temperature wise, the summer of 2011 had a 3 month average of 19.5C.. about 1C above average (18.5C) and the warmest summer since 2006 (19.8c) The 19.5C summer average tied it for Winnipeg's 17th all time warmest summer. The bulk of the heat was during July and August which were 1.7C and 1.8C above normal respectively. The summer saw 19 days of 30C or more, including 8 in July and 9 in August. Cool spells were minor and fleeting, and were quickly replaced by sunny warmer weather. The hottest temperature was a record setting 37.2C on August 23rd, while the coolest was a 3.8C reading on June 9th.

Top 5 hottest summers in Winnipeg (since 1873)

1. 1988 ............ 21.0C
2. 1983 ............ 20.8C
3. 1961 ............ 20.4C
4. 1955 ............ 20.2C
5. 1963/1930 ....... 20.1C

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thunderstorms possible tonight.. cooler weather for start of September..

August will be ending on a warm and muggy note, with morning clouds giving way to some afternoon sun along with humid conditions. A storm system developing over Montana will trigger a few thunderstorms over eastern SK and western MB later today into this evening, some possibly severe with damaging winds and large hail, along with a risk of isolated tornadoes. The system will sweep a cold front across southern MB tonight with showers and thunderstorms possible across the Red River valley through the Interlake regions. Cooler weather is on tap for the first few days of September behind this system.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another 30C day on tap today.. showers possible Sunday

30C temperatures will be returning to southern Manitoba today as southerly winds develop ahead of a trough of low pressure pushing across southern SK. For Winnipeg, today's high of 30-32C will be the 19th time this summer the city has hit the 30c mark.. the most 30c days in a summer since 2006 when we had 22 days of 30C or more. On average, Winnipeg sees 11 days of 30C weather between June and August but the past few summers have generally fallen short of that mark. In fact, this summer's 30C total will match the total number of 30C days for the past 3 summers combined! The following table lists the number of 30C days in Winnipeg (at YWG airport) since 2006.

30C days in Winnipeg - June through August

2011 ...... 19 (as of Aug 25th)
2010 ...... 11
2009 ....... 3
2008 ....... 5
2007 ....... 10
2006 ....... 22

Slightly cooler but sunny conditions are forecast for Friday and Saturday before some unsettled weather moves in for Sunday with showers and scattered thunderstorms possible over the Red River valley. Let's hope it materializes. Other than a 20 minute downpour of 21 mm during last Thursday's thunderstorm, rain events have been few and far between these past two months.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

City sizzles through hottest day in 16 years..

It was a torrid Tuesday over southern Manitoba as a southwest flow of hot dry air sent temperatures into the mid to upper thirties over the Red River valley. In Winnipeg, the mercury soared to a record breaking 37.2C by 2:30 pm, beating the previous high for Aug 23rd of 36.7C set in 1952. Not only was this the hottest day of the summer, it was also Winnipeg's hottest temperature since June 17 1995 when the city hit 37.8C. The record heat today was accompanied by very dry conditions (see YWG 22Z sounding), with dewpoints dropping to the 10C mark by mid afternoon giving humidity values of only 20%. At my Rob's Obs station in Charleswood, a maximum temperature of 38.0C was reached at 2:49 pm today, the hottest temperature at my site since it was started in 2001. (see my station's temperature trace above)

Luckily the record heat will be short lived. A cold front was pushing through southern Manitoba Tuesday evening dropping temperatures into the 20s accompanied by gusty northwest winds. This front will usher in a cooler airmass for Wednesday with temperatures some 10 degrees cooler than today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

30C weather set to return to southern MB.. record heat possible Tuesday..

If the past few days had you thinking that the summer of 2011 was over.. think again. Mid summer heat is set to return to southern Manitoba Monday and Tuesday with temperatures climbing well into the thirties. In fact, Tuesday could see some record highs across the Red River valley as temperatures soar into the 35-38C range. Winnipeg's record high Tuesday (23rd) is 36.7C from 1952, and it's possible we may come close to that mark. Conditions are favourable for very warm air to surface Tuesday as the Red River valley gets a southwest flow tapping a hot and dry airmass moving across the Prairies. Typically these are the set-ups that usually give Winnipeg and the Red River Valley its hottest temperatures. Winnipeg's hottest temperature so far this summer was a 34.4C reading on July 19th.. so Tuesday has the potential to be the hottest day of the summer. After a brief cooldown Wednesday, 30C weather is possible later in the week. More beach weather ahead as the fabulous summer of 2011 continues!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Severe thunderstorms roll through Winnipeg/ northern RRV

After dodging thunderstorms much of the summer, a line of severe thunderstorms pushed across Winnipeg Thursday evening, bringing heavy rain, intense lightning, strong winds and marble to toonie size hail to parts of the city. The line of thunderstorms developed northwest of the city Thursday evening and pushed across the city between 8:50 and 9:30 pm preceded by an impressive shelf cloud ahead of the storm (see photos). The storms brought some welcome rain of 15-25 mm across much of the city including 21 mm at YWG airport.. the heaviest rainfall of the summer, and the first daily rainfall over 5 mm at the airport since June 22nd. The line of storms was triggered by a cold front pushing across southern MB, which will usher in cooler weather for the weekend. Winnipeg hit 31C Thursday.. the 16th occurrence of 30C plus temperatures this summer.

Photos above courtesy of Winnipeg Free Press (top) and Weather Network (lower 3) See additional photos from CTV Winnipeg.

Thunderstorms developing through Interlake.. severe thunderstorm watch in effect into this evening

A cold front over western Manitoba late this afternoon is triggering a line of thunderstorms mainly northwest of the Red River valley through the western Interlake areas late today, with some potentially severe storms developing. (see 5:50 pm radar image left) A severe thunderstorm watch has been posted for much of southern Manitoba including Winnipeg and the Red River valley for the potential for severe thunderstorms into this evening as the cold front approaches. It looks like the bulk of storms will pass to the north of Winnipeg through the Interlake region, but the potential is there for isolated storms to develop further south. This front will usher in a cooler airmass for the next few days with highs only in the low 20s through the weekend. Warmer weather is expected to return to southern MB early next week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Strong westerly winds to buffet Manitoba lakes this afternoon into Wednesday morning

A cold front pushing across southern Manitoba today will usher in a westerly flow of drier and cooler air this afternoon into tonight. West winds gusting to 60 or 70 km/h are likely this afternoon into this evening across the Red River valley as drier air pushes in from the west (see real time wind readings from Winnipeg airport). Strong wind warnings have been posted over the Lake Manitoba and southern Lake Winnipeg marine areas for sustained westerly to northwest winds of 30 knots later today into tonight, with west to northwest gales of 40-45 knots forecast over the north basin of Lake Winnipeg by tonight. These strong winds will cause already high lake levels to rise another 0.5 to 1 metre on the east and south side of the lakes, with waves of 1-2 metres on top of that. See real time lake levels for Manitoba (click here for Victoria Beach or Lk Wpg north basin), and here for latest Manitoba marine observations.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Showers and thunderstorms overnight into Tuesday..

Here we go again.. another weather system will be pushing into southern Manitoba tonight into Tuesday spreading showers and thunderstorms into the region. The big question is.. will Winnipeg finally see some significant rainfall out of this or will precipitation skirt the city as it's done the past 6 weeks or so? At Winnipeg airport, only 20 mm of rain has fallen since June 23rd, with no daily rainfall greater than 5 mm in that time. (note that some areas of the city have had more rain) The last thunderstorm to hit the airport was back on July 4th. So it's been a long stretch of dodging convective weather systems over the northern RRV. Will this next round be the same story? For tonight, thunderstorms are expected to develop over North Dakota and southwest Manitoba, some potentially severe, which are forecast to spread into the RRV overnight into Tuesday. Some of the rain could be heavy with local amounts of 20-40 mm possible in thunderstorms. The unsettled weather is expected to push east of the RRV later Tuesday with breezy and cooler conditions Tuesday night into Wednesday. Hit or miss for Winnipeg? Let us know in Rob's Obs latest poll!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another chance of showers/thunderstorms mainly south of Winnipeg tonight.. nice weekend shaping up with more dry warm weather into early next week..

A weak system tracking through the Dakotas will bring another chance of showers and thunderstorms later today into tonight mainly near and south of the international border. Scattered thunderstorms are possible over the Red River valley, but the more organized activity is expected mainly south of the border, as has been the case most of the summer. Sunny and warm weather is expected over southern Manitoba for the weekend into early next week, with temperature climbing to the 30C mark once again by Sunday. Great weather for beach lovers, but not for farmers in the northern RRV who are desperately looking for some significant rainfall.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Severe thunderstorms over southwest Manitoba Sunday evening.. showers/storms bypass Winnipeg/northern RRV yet again..

Some stunning images sent to the Weather Network of locally severe thunderstorms that affected southwest Manitoba last evening. The left image shows a shelf cloud passing over Oak Lake, MB which produced strong wind gusts, heavy downpours, and quarter size hail. The right image is a beautiful shot from Virden of mammatus clouds being underlit by a setting sun. Mammatus cloud sometimes accompany tornadic storms, and this cell did indeed produce a brief tornado just east of Virden Saturday evening. The strongest storms generally moved from the Transcanada highway near the SK border down towards the southern RRV last night, once again bypassing Winnipeg and the northern RRV. About 5-15 mm of rain was recorded in storms last night over the southern Red River valley.

These storms come from the same system that pounded southern Saskatchewan Saturday with some exceptionally heavy rain and hail north and east of Regina. Hail up to a foot deep fell on Highway 6 north of Regina Saturday afternoon (image left) which disrupted travel in the area. 50-70 mm of rain flooded areas just east of Regina along with hail and local funnel clouds.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Showers and scattered thunderstorms possible tonight.. cooler weather moving in Monday

A cold front over southern Saskatchewan will push eastward across southern Manitoba tonight. This front will trigger some showers and thunderstorms over western Manitoba this evening.. some possibly severe.. before they move into the Red River valley overnight. Rainfall amounts are not likely to be heavy as the band of showers will be fairly short lived and fast moving, but local amounts of 5-10 mm with up to 20 mm in thunderstorms are possible. The line of showers will move east of the RRV overnight with cooler weather on tap Monday along with clouds, brisk NW winds and a chance of showers. Temperatures are only expected to be in the low 20s over the next couple of days. Drier and warmer weather is expected Wednesday before another chance of showers Thursday. Overall, it looks like temperatures will be averaging near to slightly below normal over southern Manitoba over the next week or so. (Ignore the eternally optimistic warm and sunny Day 6-7 forecast.. it has a warm and dry bias and fails to capture cooling trends properly)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Showers and thunderstorms with heavy rainfall south of the border tonight into Saturday.. flash flood watch in effect for North Dakota

A low pressure area will track across North Dakota tonight into Saturday, bringing widespread thunderstorms with some heavy rainfall likely generally near and south of the international border. Local rainfall amounts of 50-75 mm are possible in these areas overnight into Saturday, and flash flood watches are in effect for much of northern ND. There will be a sharp cutoff to the rain north of the border with little rain expected over the northern Red River valley including Winnipeg. This will be the latest in a series of convective weather systems that have brought thunderstorms and heavier rainfall over the southern RRV into North Dakota over the past few weeks. While the northern RRV struggles with very dry conditions since the end of June, it's been a different story south of the border where rainfall has averaged above normal in July in many areas.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Hot humid day on tap.. strong thunderstorms possible this afternoon/evening?

Hot and more humid conditions will spread over southern MB today ahead of a trough of low pressure through Saskatchewan. Afternoon temperatures will reach the low thirties with dewpoints climbing into the uncomfortable low 20s today. This will send humidex values close to the 40C mark this afternoon across the RRV, and thus a humidex advisory has been issued for the area including Winnipeg. The big question is what will happen later this afternoon into this evening as the frontal trough approaches from the west. This trough will encounter the hot and humid airmass over southern MB to trigger some scattered thunderstorms later today.. some of which may be severe with heavy rain, hail and strong winds possible. There is even a risk of isolated tornadoes with any discrete supercells that develop. At this point, the best chance for convective development will be over the RRV, and SE MB into ND.. but hopefully, some weaker storms fire up in the RRV to give us some much needed rainfall. Will we miss out again, or will we finally see some rain today? Stay tuned..

11:00 am update: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for all of southern Manitoba including Winnipeg for the potential for severe thunderstorms this afternoon into this evening.

Winnipeg sets mark for driest July on record..

The hot and dry weather of the past month has resulted in the driest July on record in Winnipeg since records began almost 140 years ago in 1872. Only 10.0 mm of rain was recorded at Winnipeg airport in July 2011, beating the previous driest July of 2006 at 10.5 mm. Normal July rainfall in Winnipeg is around 70 mm so rainfall this month was a meager 14% of normal. Rainfall was a little higher in other parts of the city in July including downtown (17.8 mm at the Forks) and northern sections (20-25 mm over North Kildonan/E St Paul areas) due to locally heavier showers and thunderstorms earlier in the month. But southern and western parts of the city have been the driest with only 8-10 mm recorded in July along the south perimeter.

The dry weather has been the result of a split in weather systems across the RRV this past month, with the jet stream bringing synoptic systems and significant rainfall across the central Prairies, while scattered thunderstorms further south have been tracking mainly south and west of the RRV through Saskatchewan into the Dakotas (see Prairie precip anomaly map above). The result has been a lack of precipitation events especially over the northern RRV, Steinbach and the Whiteshell areas. This is in sharp contrast to the start of the growing season that saw cool and wet conditions through May and early June across the region. The dry weather now has become a serious concern for farmers whose crops have not developed deep enough root systems to tap into more plentiful soil moisture deeper down in the earth.

The southern Red River valley was not quite as dry in July, being grazed by some thunderstorm complexes tracking through North Dakota. Areas from Morris to Emerson saw around 50 mm in July, while heavier amounts were recorded south of the border including Grand Forks at 67 mm, and Fargo at 133 mm.

Some July rainfall totals included..

Winnipeg airport..... 10.0 mm
Winnipeg Forks ...... 17.8 mm
Charleswood ........... 14.0 mm /Rob's Obs/
Brady landfill ........... 9 mm
Oak Bluff ................. 9 mm
St Vital .................. 14 mm
Whyte Ridge ............ 20 mm
N. Kildonan .............. 20 mm
E St Paul .................. 24 mm

Starbuck .................. 8 mm
Steinbach ................. 9 mm
Sanford .................... 10 mm
Portage ................... 14 mm
Pinawa .................... 16 mm
Selkirk ..................... 17 mm
St Pierre ................... 26 mm
Winkler .................... 35 mm
Carman ................... 38 mm
Morden ................... 44 mm
Morris ...................... 47 mm
Emerson ................... 55 mm
Grand Forks ............ 67 mm
Fargo ........................ 133 mm

Gimli ......................... 70 mm
Arborg ..................... 57 mm
Brandon .................. 65 mm
Dauphin .................. 153 mm
The Pas .................. 141 mm

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rain bypasses Winnipeg/northern RRV again.. driest July on record within reach at Winnipeg..

A system tracking through the Dakotas brought an area of showers and scattered thunderstorms over the Northern Plain States yesterday.. but once again, the bulk of the rainfall was confined south of the border, with precipitation once again bypassing Winnipeg and much of the northern RRV and southeast MB (there were some brief showers over parts of the city last night with 2 or 3 mm, but it appears to have missed the airport) Some areas of southwest MB did pick up some rainfall yesterday, with general amounts of 5-10 mm near the US border and southern RRV, with heavier amounts through the Swan River area into the northern interlake. However, most other areas of southern MB remained dry yesterday.. a growing concern for area farmers who are looking for some much needed rainfall. After a wet start to the growing season in the RRV, the taps starting shutting down in June.. with very little rainfall recorded in July, especially over Winnipeg and the northern RRV. (see above graph showing cumulative precipitation at Winnipeg airport over the past 90 days)

In Winnipeg, only 9.5 mm of rain has been recorded this month. If we get less than 1 mm of rain over the next 4 days, this will go down as Winnipeg's driest July since records began in 1872 (currently July 2006 at 10.5 mm) Will it happen? Things look dry through Friday, but there is chance of some scattered shower or thunderstorm activity Saturday as increasingly warm and more humid air moves into southern MB. At this time of year, it doesn't take much to get more than 1 mm of rain even with some passing showers, so it's not a given that we'll break the record. But given the track record of storms over the past few weeks, the potential is certainly there. Stay tuned..

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another chance of showers and thunderstorms Tuesday into Tuesday night..

A low pressure system developing over Montana is producing scattered thunderstorms over the western Dakotas this evening, and these are expected to continue overnight as warm and unstable air push north. Some of these storms are likely to spread into SW MB overnight with locally heavy rain possible. On Tuesday, these thunderstorms will push eastward and weaken bringing cloud and a few showers to the Red river valley by afternoon. Additional thunderstorms are expected to fire up over SE Saskatchewan and western ND late Tuesday into Tuesday night. Most of the strongest storms are expected to stay in North Dakota where severe storms are possible, but some thunderstorms may track across the border bringing locally heavy rain to portions of the RRV. It remains to be seen if this area of precipitation will get into Winnipeg as models hint the heaviest rainfall may occur south of the city Tuesday. Will Winnipeg miss out again.. or will we finally see our first significant rainfall of the month? Stay tuned..

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rain bypasses Winnipeg to the south.. dry spell continues..

The rain that was supposed to have spread over the Red River valley this morning has tracked further south.. bypassing much of southern MB and denying us some much need rain. Strong thunderstorms with high winds and heavy rain pushed across North Dakota last night, but very little precipitation made its way across the border with minimal amounts of 2-5 mm recorded along the US border including the southern RRV. There is still a chance of some showers and isolated thunderstorms later today as a trough of low pressure pushes across southern Manitoba later this afternoon, but the band of showers will be narrow and short lived with minor amounts. The lack of rain today will be a disappointment to those who were looking forward to some replenishing of the rapidly depleting soil moisture levels in the region. Only 7 mm of rain has fallen in Winnipeg so far this July, a month which normally sees about 70 mm.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Some much needed rain on the way..

After a week of hot temperatures, and yesterday's dry and windy weather.. things are getting parched in the Red river valley. Winnipeg has seen only 7 mm of rain this month, with many storms bypassing the city to the north, west or south of us. Finally though, it looks like a system moving through North Dakota Saturday will bring a widespread area of rain that should give Winnipeg and the RRV its first significant rainfall in a month. Showers and thunderstorms will develop over southeast SK and the western Dakotas later today into this evening then spread into SW Manitoba overnight. Precipitation is expected to move into Winnipeg and the RRV Saturday morning, with 10-20 mm possible by Saturday night. Embedded thunderstorms may give locally heavier rainfalls of 20-40 mm in some areas. The unsettled weather will move out Saturday night with drier weather by Sunday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Peak of heat wave expected today.. thunderstorms likely Wednesday with cooler and more comfortable conditions by Thursday..

The heat wave which has been affecting southern Manitoba since Saturday is expected to peak today with afternoon temperatures of 35-38C forecast, along with humidex values in the mid 40s. In Winnipeg, highs of 36C are forecast which would be a record for the day (currently 34.4C in 1967), and likely the city's hottest day since Aug 19 2003 when we hit 35.9C. Today should be the hottest day of the heat wave before a cold front pushes through Wednesday bringing some welcome showers and thunderstorms that will likely be accompanied by locally heavy rainfall. Cooler and more comfortable conditions will follow in the wake of the front by Thursday with seasonable temperatures and lower humidity.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The heat is on! Winnipeg hottest spot in country with 34C reading.. Heat wave to continue into early next week..

The heat wave has officially started in southern Manitoba with numerous localities hitting 32c or higher today. Hot spot honours went to Winnipeg with an afternoon maximum of 34.1C at YWG airport, and 34.5C at the Forks.. the hottest temperatures in Canada today. Humidex values touched 40C this afternoon as dewpoints rose to 20C in the city.. uncomfortable, but not as oppressive as the 24C dewpoints Winnipeg recorded on June 30th that resulted in peak humidex values of 44c. The hot weather will continue through the weekend into early next week with daytime highs of 32-35c likely through Tuesday. Luckily, humidity values will be somewhat tolerable over the next couple of days as some drier air from northern Manitoba works its way across the Interlake and northern RRV. Dewpoints on Sunday and Monday are forecast to drop into the mid teens in Winnipeg.. quite comfortable compared to the oppressive 22-25c dewpoints being recorded south of the border. By Tuesday however, the higher dewpoints will be spreading back into southern MB with humidex values likely reaching the low to mid 40s across the RRV. Current indications are that a cold front will push across southern MB Wednesday with showers and thunderstorms, followed by cooler and more comfortable conditions later in the week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chilly morning.. building heat wave expected by late week

It was a chilly Tuesday morning over southern Manitoba with temperatures falling well into the single digits overnight. At Winnipeg airport, temperatures fell to 6C this morning, the coolest temperature of the month so far. Temperatures will warm up nicely today under sunny skies with afternoon highs around 25C. Another chilly night is in store tonight with lows near 10C, but then a significant warming trend is set to develop by mid to late week as a large upper ridge of high pressure builds over the central continent allowing hot air from the United States to flow north. Temperatures over 30C are likely by the weekend into next week along with increasing humidity levels that will likely send humidex values over 40C. There may be some scattered thunderstorm activity as we get into the building heat later this week, but overall hot and humid conditions are expected through the weekend with long range models hinting that the heat wave may continue through the middle of next week. So enjoy those comfortably cool temperatures while they last.. heat and humidity is on the way!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Severe thunderstorms possible over southern MB later today into tonight..

A low pressure trough moving across the Prairies today is forecast to trigger another round of thunderstorms over southern SK and southern MB this afternoon into tonight, with some severe thunderstorms likely in some areas. The best focus for severe storms today will be over southeast SK into SW Manitoba later this afternoon into this evening where large hail and damaging winds will be the main threat with storms that develop, along with the chance of some isolated tornadoes. These storms will likely push eastward into southern MB tonight with a risk of large hail, strong winds, and heavy rainfall as storms move through. Stay tuned on this developing severe weather situation..

Monday, July 04, 2011

Severe thunderstorms possible today over southern MB..

A cold front over western MB will interact with a warm and humid airmass over southern MB today to produce scattered thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, a few likely severe especially over the Red River valley and eastern MB into NW Ontario. The main threat with the strongest storms will be golf ball size hail and 100 km/h wind gusts, which were reported with this system yesterday in Saskatchewan. In addition, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out given the potential for supercells today. Stay tuned on today's severe weather threat..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Steamy last day of June.. possible severe storms this evening?

It will be a steamy end to June as hot and muggy conditions spread over the Red River valley with temperatures climbing into the low 30s, and dewpoints in the uncomfortable 21-24C range. This will produce humidex values around 40C this afternoon which has prompted a humidex advisory to be issued for the RRV and southeast MB. Late today, a cold front will push through which may produce some strong to severe thunderstorms.. with large hail and damaging winds as the main threats. There is considerable uncertainty still as to if and where these storms will pop up.. so stay tuned today as the situation unfolds.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Warming up this week.. first 30C of the year likely by Thursday..

After a rather cool start to the week, things will be on an upswing this week as an upper ridge of high pressure builds over the Prairies. This will finally allow warmer air over the States to finally push northward into the southern Prairies, with the summer's first 30C readings likely by Thursday.. the last day of June. Before then, look for a cool night tonight as skies clear allowing temperatures to fall into the single digits by Tuesday morning. Tuesday will see sunshine with some afternoon clouds and afternoon temperatures of 22C. Southerly winds will be on the increase for Wednesday with gusty south winds of 40 gusting to 60 km/h pushing temperatures up to the 27C mark in Winnipeg. Thursday looks like the warmest day of the week with temperatures of 30-33C expected over southern MB.. including Winnipeg. If so, it will the first 30C reading of the year in Winnipeg.. almost a year to the day we reached our first 30C last year (a high of 30.2c on July 1st) A cold front will push through Thursday night with the potential for showers and thunderstorms, ushering in cooler but seasonable weather for the weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heavy rain over portions of Red River valley and southeast Manitoba

A storm system over the northern Plains brought an area of widespread rain over the Red River valley and SE Manitoba overnight into Wednesday morning, with some locally heavy bands of rain south and east of Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, rainfall amounts through Wednesday morning showed a significant north-south delineation across the city with about 5 mm along the north perimeter to 25 mm over the south perimeter.

Unofficial rainfall amounts through 11 am Wednesday morning (amounts since 6 pm Tuesday evening. Data from MB ag-weather, CWB Weatherbug and private stations)

Winnipeg stations..

North Perimeter ..... 6 mm
McPhillips ................. 10 mm
Charleswood ............ 12 mm
Whyte Ridge............. 18 mm
Oak Bluff .................. 19 mm
St Vital ..................... 20 mm
Brady Landfill .......... 25 mm
St Norbert ................. 29 mm

St Adolphe ................. 29 mm
Sanford ....................... 30 mm
Steinbach ................... 50 mm
St Pierre ..................... 51 mm
Morris ........................ 58 mm
Letellier ..................... 49 mm
Winkler ...................... 48 mm

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Storm system over northern plains to bring rain to southeast Manitoba..

A strong storm system over southeastern South Dakota will track through Minnesota over the next 24 hours bringing a wide swath of rain over the North Dakota and northern Minnesota. The heaviest rain is expected to fall near or just south of the US border with totals of 25 to 50 mm by Wednesday evening. Some of this rain will spread into southeast Manitoba tonight into Wednesday with 15-25 mm possible over the southern RRV and southeast Manitoba (Steinbach, Sprague, etc) There will be a sharp cutoff on the northern extent of this rain shield.. which will likely set up roughly along the TransCanada highway. Little or no rain is expected north of this line, while areas to the south will see some precipitation, heavier as you go towards the international border. Winnipeg will lie on the dividing line with little or no rain expected north of the city.. and perhaps 5-10 mm just to the south Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unsettled pattern this week..

Generally warm but unsettled conditions are expected over southern Manitoba this week as a large upper low pressure system settles over western Canada. This will put southern Manitoba in a southwest upper flow of unstable air through the rest of the week with periodic showers and thunderstorms as impulses move along the upper flow. Unfortunately, it looks like southwest Manitoba will bear the brunt of the heaviest precipitation during this period, with an increased chance of showers and thunderstorms the further west you go. The Red River valley will be somewhat drier with a mix of clouds and sunshine the rest of the week, and a chance of showers and thunderstorms each day. Due to the relatively slow motion of these storms, and the higher dewpoints advecting into southern Manitoba, rainfall will be very heavy with some of these storms, with local rainfall amounts of 25 to 50 mm, and in some cases higher amounts with training cells. This will put waterlogged SW Manitoba in a highly vulnerable situation depending on where the heaviest convection fires up.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More rain on the way over southern MB..

It will be a nice start to the weekend today over southern MB with plenty of sunshine, light winds, low humidity and temperatures around 23C this afternoon. But in what is becoming an all too familiar pattern this year, the nice weather will not last long. A system pushing in from Montana will spread another round of showers and thunderstorms into southern MB Sunday, reaching SW Manitoba in the morning, and the Red River valley by late afternoon. General rainfall amounts of 10-20 mm are expected across southern MB Sunday through Sunday night into Monday, with thunderstorms bringing locally heavy rain of 25 to 40 mm in some areas. This will spell more bad news for the Souris and Assiniboine watersheds which are completely saturated and unable to take any more water. Wet weather will move into the Interlake regions Monday with generally drier weather for much of the upcoming week.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Another soaker for Southwest Manitoba..

As bad as this spring has been over the Red River valley, it's been even worse to our west. Southwest Manitoba and Southeast SK have bore the brunt of several major rain systems that have tracked across the Northern Plains states over the past 4 to 5 weeks. The result has been some amazing rainfall totals over SW Manitoba that have caused numerous problems with record high water levels on lakes and rivers, and a virtual wipeout of any crop this year for area farmers. Tuesday saw another 25 to 50 mm of rain across much of Southwest MB with the heaviest swath from the Virden area to Minnedosa where up to 55 mm was recorded. This is on top of at least 3 other major rain storms in the past 4 weeks that have brought 100-150 mm of rain over the area into the Interlake regions. In Souris, another 25 mm of rain fell yesterday bringing the total since May 1st to a whopping 216 mm, about 300% of normal.

Other rainfall totals since May 1st include.. (data from MB Ag-wx network)

Minnedosa............ 190 mm
Hamiota ............... 187 mm
Virden .................. 181 mm
Pierson ................. 175 mm
Brandon ............... 157 mm

A persistent storm track across the northern plains has resulted in a very wet start to the growing season over much of the southern Prairies, especially over southeast SK and southwest MB where over 200 mm of rain has fallen since April 1st (see map image left). In sharp contrast, things are very dry by the time you get over the central and northern Prairies with precipitation less than 40% of normal over central and northern Alberta (image right). (Maps courtesy of Drought Watch)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Severe thunderstorms bring large hail and heavy rain over SW Manitoba, north of Winnipeg..

Severe thunderstorms affected much of southern Manitoba today as a warm front pushed north from North Dakota spreading moist and very unstable air ahead of it. Severe storms developed early this morning over SE Saskatchewan and SW Manitoba producing baseball size hail near Shilo and Hartney MB as well as very heavy rain. Storms moved into the Red River valley this afternoon, with a severe storm developing just northwest of Winnipeg around 2 pm. This storm brought golf ball size hail that produced extensive car damage (photos above) at the Bel Acres golf course just north of Winnipeg (see video of hailstorm) The storm continued northeast bringing large hail and very heavy rain to Stonewall, Tuelon and Winnipeg Beach areas. In Selkirk, the storm produced 37 mm of rain in only 20 minutes between 2:40 and 3 pm.

Severe thunderstorms affecting SW Manitoba this morning.. showers/tstorms spreading into RRV this afternoon into tonight

Severe thunderstorms have developed over SW Manitoba this morning in advance of a warm front pushing north from North Dakota. This front is pushing in very unstable air aloft which has triggered strong to severe thunderstorms with large hail and very heavy rain across SW Manitoba. Quarter to golf ball size hail has been reported in some localities with 25 to 45 mm of torrential rain falling within 1 or 2 hours, in areas that are still recovering from 50 to 75 mm of rain from earlier this week. The severe thunderstorms will continue this morning with additional showers and thunderstorms spreading into the Red River valley this afternoon into tonight. Some storms may continue to be severe with locally large hail and very heavy rainfall. Stay tuned..

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scattered showers and thundershowers today.. a respite Sunday then more rain Monday into Tuesday..

Scattered showers and thundershowers are expected to develop today across southern Manitoba as an unstable airmass settles over the area. Partly sunny skies this morning will give way to convective cloud development as temperatures climb into the mid teens by the noon hour, setting the stage for scattered showers and thundershowers this afternoon. Any thundershowers will be fairly weak due to a lack of strong dynamics today, however small hail and brief downpours are possible. Conditions are even favourable for some cold core funnel clouds to develop today (with or without a thundershower) however these will be isolated and should not have enough energy to reach the ground. Things will dissipate this evening as we lose daytime heating, leading to drier weather Sunday with no precipitation expected.. welcome news for the large outdoor events planned tomorrow (including U2 concert and Teddy Bear picnic)

The dry weather will be short lived however as a stronger storm system develops over the Northern high plains and into southern Manitoba by Monday. This will bring a more general rainfall across southern MB Monday into Tuesday, with 10-20 mm possible for Winnipeg and the RRV, and heavier amounts for 20-40 mm likely across southwest MB into the interlake areas. This, in combination with gusty north winds will bring additional high water and flooding concerns to the Lake Manitoba area, and will be yet another setback for area farmers who desperately need a prolonged stretch of dry and warm weather to accelerate seeding operations. Long range guidance is hinting at warmer weather moving in by the end of next week, that hopefully signals the start of a trend to more summerlike weather finally moving into southern MB.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin.. a terrible reminder of what a violent tornado can do in an urban center..

The Joplin tornado disaster should serve as a wake-up call for us in the Prairies as to what an F4 or F5 tornado is capable of doing when it moves into a populated area. By strong tornado standards, the Joplin tornado was relatively short lived.. lasting only about 20 minutes with a track length of about 20 km (often, violent tornadoes can track 100 km or more and last 1 or 2 hours or more). But much of those 20 km were right over a densely populated and commercialized area of a moderately sized city, leading to the deadliest single tornado event in the US in over 60 years. Even with today's technology and advanced warnings, these violent tornadoes are not survivable unless you're in a reinforced shelter, or underground. Although rare, F4 or F5 tornadoes can and do occur in the Prairies. We're fortunate that we have a lot of open space that's sparsely populated.. but it only takes one violent tornado hitting a populated area to do what we saw in Joplin. F4 tornadoes have occurred in Regina and Edmonton, and an F5 tornado struck just west of Winnipeg in Elie in 2007. The odds are remote, but they're not zero. It can happen here..

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wet weather moving in over holiday weekend..

Beautiful summer like weather will continue through Friday in southern MB with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20s. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the nice weather will hold through the upcoming May 24 holidays as an area of low pressure over the southwest US tracks into the Dakotas and across southern MB over the weekend. This system will spread an area of showers and isolated thunderstorms into southern MB on Saturday which will continue Saturday night into Sunday. Rainfall amounts from this system will depend on how much convection fires up Saturday but preliminary guidance indicates 15 to 25 mm of rain is possible over portions of southern MB and North Dakota over the weekend. Rain from this system will move out Sunday night with drier but cooler weather for holiday Monday.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Great stretch of weather this week..

It looks like Mother Nature is making amends this week after delivering a prolonged stretch of cloudy, cool and damp weather last week. A large area of high pressure over southern MB has brought a gloriously sunny weekend to the province with temperatures ranging from 19C in the south to 25C in the north. This area of high pressure will move slowly eastward over the next few days maintaining sunny skies and temperatures in the low 20s over southern MB. The good news is that high pressure in the upper atmosphere over Manitoba will block weather systems from affecting southern MB through the entire week maintaining dry and warm weather through Friday.. welcome news for the ongoing flood-fighting efforts. There are indications that the weather will turn more unsettled over the May 24 holiday weekend with some shower activity moving in .. especially for the latter half.. but this is still a ways ahead to be more specific. Until then.. get out and enjoy the much overdue stretch of sunny warm weather!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cool and unsettled rest of week.. turning sunnier and warmer over weekend into next week..

Cool and cloudy weather will dominate southern MB through Friday as a stubborn area of low pressure over NW Ontario circulates clouds and northwest winds over southern MB. As a result, temperatures will be some 10 degrees below normal for this time of year, which are now approaching 20C for daytime highs. Little additional precipitation is expected through Friday, although there may be some light showers or drizzle from time to time, with even a stray snowflurry possible Friday morning. The good news is that models are indicating a significant clearing tend for the weekend into next week, with temperatures warming to near or even above normal values next week. That will translate to temperatures in the 20s over southern MB along with more prolonged sunshine that we've been seeing of late, and gusty south winds at times, some welcome news that will help start drying out the excessively moist soil conditions over southern MB. We need it..

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Unsettled weather moving in Sunday night.. showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rain possible

Today's scattered shower and thunderstorm activity over the Red River valley was a prelude to what looks to be an active period of weather coming up over southern Manitoba. A strong storm system is forecast to move into South Dakota late Sunday which will draw up a moist and unstable airmass northward. Shower and scattered thunderstorm activity is expected to develop over North Dakota and move into southern MB by late Sunday into Sunday night. Some of the rain could be heavy at times with amounts of 15-25 mm possible over portions of southern MB by Monday morning, including parts of the Red River valley. This system will be slow moving and will continue to generate showers and scattered thunderstorms over the northern plains and southern MB Tuesday into Wednesday. Of concern will be rainfall over this period, as river levels remain high across southern MB. Since much of this rainfall will be convective in nature, it will be difficult to pinpoint which areas will receive the heaviest rain and how much at this point.. but stay tuned as this situation develops.