Significant Storm System Heading into Manitoba

A powerful early-summer storm system has pushed through Montana overnight and pushed into Southwestern Manitoba, bringing with it heavy rain and widespread thunderstorms.  Read on to find out what’s in store for today, and where there might be severe thunderstorms…

0845Z 10.7u/3.9u Multispectral Satellite Imagery; a extremely large area of thunderstorms covers most of Southern Saskatchewan, the northern half of Montana.  This system also has an arm of convection that extends west-east across northern North Dakota approaching the international border.  This system has brought nickel sized hail to the Estevan region and 90km/h wind gusts to northern Montana.

A significant storm system ejecting from the Rocky Mountains intensified rapidly overnight and has produced widespread thunderstorms throughout southern Saskatchewan.  This system will move eastwards through the day today, pushing precipitation through Manitoba.

The setup today is quite complex.  There is a surface low running near the international border that is connected to the upper-level impulse.  These two features are acting in tandem to produce much of the convection in Saskatchewan this morning.  Further to the southeast, a surface low is entering into western North Dakota with an associated frontal wave attached to it.  A warm front extends through southern North Dakota and across central Minnesota, with a cold front laying south from the low pressure centre along the Montana/Wyoming – Dakotas boundaries.

1000Z Radar Composite for the Prairies

So!  For Southern Manitoba today.  The band of thunderstorms stretching from Melita-Virden to Emerson should continue through the early morning hours, but will be sheared apart by mid-to-late morning as the western portion of the line is pulled westward around the upper low and the eastern half is pushed further east by a significant low-level jet.  I think that there will be thunderstorms up to a line that lay from Portage la Prairie – Winnipeg – Kenora.  North of that line (including Portage and Winnipeg), I’d say that there’s a good chance of some showers this morning, but only a slight risk of a thunderstorm as the line is weakened through the stretching as well as the morning sun.

After that line passes, we’ll see a relatively cloudy lunch and early afternoon.  During this period, the warm front in North Dakota will have advected northward and lay fairly close to the Canadian border.  By mid-afternoon, convection will initiate south of the border along the warm front, caused by daytime heating and increasing instability as the upper centre approaches.  These storms will probably become marginally severe to severe quite quickly, with the main threat being large hail.  There is a slight chance that storms right near the warm front could produce tornadoes.

I think that the worst should stay south of the border, but it’s highly dependant on how far north the warm front can push.  The SPC agrees with me, and has pushed their slight risk area into Southern Manitoba, with concerns that the worst could actually occur on our side of the border.  I’d advise anyone living within 75km of the border in the Red River Valley and east to keep an eye out for weather watches or warnings this afternoon.

24hr. precipitation accumulation valid 12Z Wednesday morning from the 00Z June 7 GEMREG model.

Storms that initiate along the warm front should become elevated this evening, as they become support by a strong low level jet overrunning the warm front.  As the upper low moves across Southern Manitoba, it too should support an area of convection due to significant instability aloft.  All this will move through overnight, giving rain and thunderstorms to many areas in Southern Manitoba.  Rainfall amounts may vary significantly depending on convection, but general widespread amounts will likely be from 15-25mm, with areas that get battered by thunderstorms potentially seeing 30-40mm.

We should see some light rain tomorrow morning through the RRV and points east as the system pulls out, with skies beginning to clear through the afternoon.  After that, it looks like we’ll have at least a few days without rain before the next system moves through!


Brad lives in Winnipeg with his wife and two children and is the founder of A Weather Moment. He has loved weather from a very young age and has followed that passion through his life so far. He received a B.Sc. in Earth Sciences with Specialization in Atmospheric Sciences and is currently employed in the field of meteorology. You can find the author as WeatherInThePeg on Mastodon.

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