Powerful Thunderstorm Rips Through Winnipeg; What’s Next?

Winnipeg Lightning
Photo by Phil Hossack, The Winnipeg Free Press

A powerful thunderstorm developed rapidly along an advancing cold front last night, pounding the city with heavy rain, strong winds and hail. Things looked like they would pass north of the city until the front reached about 30-40km west of Winnipeg, where rapid southward development of the existing storm line occurred. This storm, a rarity this summer, comes after a month and a half of hot, dry weather where thunderstorms constantly split as they approached the city and passed north of our south of the area. For storm lovers, we couldn’t have asked for more from a late-evening thunderstorm: great structure in the clouds, much-needed rain, some hail, and one of the most impressive light shows I’ve seen in a long, long time. Read on to see pictures and video of this storm in action!

I was able to capture this video from the west-end of town around 9:45 last night, shortly after it had stopped raining. I haven’t seen as much lightning in a single storm as the one last night in a long, long time:

Intense Lightning in Winnipeg (August 18, 2011) from buffaloseven on Vimeo

User submitted photo
Photo submitted by @hubertguiggsy on Twitter

Twitter user @hubertquiggsy sent me this picture of the storm. It’s a beautiful shot that shows the gust front crossing the city (this picture is facing North) with ample amounts of scud being sucked up into the storm.

Lightning + Mammatus
This picture is one of a few great ones at http://www.steinbachweather.ca from the storm as it moved through his area, such as the one above. I highly recommend you visit the site and take a look.

The Weather Network always has plenty of submissions, and last night’s storm was no different; here are some of the highlights:

Clouds
Clouds; submitted by Arienna Paul

This shot (Clouds) shows the impressive structure the leading edge of this storm had, with a well-defined lowering and gust front, complete with beautiful striations running along the main lowering.

Wow!
Wow!; submitted by Christina Unger

Seen from a different angle, Wow! shows us how ominous this storm looked as it approached. Scud getting sucked up into the storm as it advanced on the city, with nothing but ominous behind the gust front. Again, striations can be seen running along the gust front on the upper half of the lowering.

funnel cloud
funnel cloud; submit by Wendy Buleziuk

This shot, taken near East St. Paul, shows another beautiful shelf cloud. The photo is titled “funnel cloud” and I chose not to change that, but it’s important to note that there is no funnel cloud in this picture. The elongated strands of clouds pointing towards the lower left of the picture, protruding from the shelf cloud itself, is known as ‘scud’. This is very low level cloud that is generated by strong lift right ahead of the gust front. These clouds are indicative of a powerful thunderstorm, but do not have a direct connection to the development of funnel clouds or tornadoes.

Thunder Storm Winnipg
Thunder Storm Winnipg (sic); submitted by Greg Pecold

Another beautiful shot of the gust front as it advanced into town.


What’s next for Winnipeg? Cooler weather for today and tomorrow with a mix of sun and clouds. It looks like there’s a chance of showers tomorrow afternoon/evening as a weak disturbance slides through the interlake in the northwest flow, although it looks likely that the showers will stay north of Winnipeg. Sunday may be a little more unsettled as another system moves by and starts to push the cold air out of the province. We’ll see temperatures rebound to close to 30°C Sunday afternoon as the system brings warmer air into the province, and then for the first half of next week we’ll be under the influence of a building upper ridge, which will bring sunshine and temperatures near 30°C for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Brad

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 Twitter.