Mid-January Storm To Bring All Manner of Nasty Weather

A powerful storm system is pushing into Southern Manitoba this morning and will become the first major storm of the year. This storm will impact the entirety of Manitoba and bring very strong winds, heavy snow, near-blizzard conditions and a good chance of some freezing rain. Read on to find out where will see what as we break this thing down.

  • Significant weather expected: strong winds (and blowing snow), freezing rain and heavy snowfall.

  • Expected storm-total snowfall amounts from this system.

Disclaimer: I could write many more words than I have time to write about this system. As such, I’m going to just explicitly state right now that while I may mention areas outside the Red River Valley, the focus of this post will be for the weather expected in Winnipeg & the Red River Valley.

We’ll start out with the good news: temperatures are expected to stay near or above normal[1] through the remainder of the week; no horribly cold Arctic air is expected to slam southwards into the Prairies with this system. That’s about where the good news ends, though.

As we progress through this morning, an area of snow will move into the Red River Valley, pushing in from the west ahead of the incoming warm front. The low pressure centre is currently in northeastern Saskatchewan and will begin to dive southeast into Central Manitoba later this morning. Winds will strengthen out of the south this morning up to around 40-50km/h with gusts as high as 70km/h. Despite the relatively mild temperatures – we’re sitting at around -10°C – extensive blowing snow will likely be an issue in areas to the south of Winnipeg[2] thanks to the strength of the winds.

Wednesday

3°C / -11°C
Snow beginning this morning. Very windy. Risk of freezing rain this afternoon. Flurries overnight with blizzard conditions in the Red River Valley.

The heaviest snowfall will pass to the north and east of the city where a heavy snowfall warning is in effect for 10-15cm of snow. Here in the Red River Valley we’ll see a fair gradient in snowfall amounts from the southwest corner to the northeast corner thanks to how the precipitation spreads in from northwest to southeast. Through the day today, areas in the southwest corner can expect the lighter end of the snowfall with only around 2-5cm accumulation by the evening. Here in Winnipeg we’ll see from 5-10cm of snow while closer to 10cm of snow will fall to our north and east.

Our winds, as mentioned before, will become quite strong out of the south. They’ll lighten a little bit for the early afternoon as they swing to the west as the low pressure system moves through the Interlake and the warm front pushes east of the Red River Valley. Our temperature will jump up to around +2 or +3°C and we’ll see a break in any blowing snow that’s happening. By mid-to-late afternoon, though, a cold front will be approaching. Winds will shift a little more to the northwest and we’ll see a risk for some freezing rain just ahead of and along the cold front as it pushes through. In addition, there is the potential for some fairly heavy bursts of snow along the cold front with some models hinting that there may be a fair amount of convective activity associated with it[3]. Winds will shift straight out of the northwest by the evening and strengthen considerably to 50km/h with gusts potentially as high as 80km/h overnight here in Winnipeg.

This wind will readily whip up the freshly fallen snow in the RRV and produce near-zero or white-out conditions on area highways. Despite the fact that temperatures will not drop too quickly – only to around -10°C overnight – it will still be a brutal night. Continued flurry activity will likely continue through the night, compounding the visibility problems presented by the winds alone.

Thursday


⇒ -10°C / -20°C
Windy with blowing snow. Mainly cloudy.

The snow will taper off early on Thursday, but poor visibilities will continue through much of the day as the strong northwest winds persist at 40-50km/h at least into the early afternoon. Temperatures will remain fairly steady at around -10°C.

By evening the wind will taper off as a ridge of high pressure moves into the province, bringing an end to any blowing snow left in the Red River Valley. The clouds will also scatter out and we’ll drop to a chilly -21°C for our overnight low.

Friday & The Weekend


-10°C / -14°C
Cloudy periods with a chance of afternoon flurries.

Friday will start off sunny but some cloudy periods will develop as a warm front pushes into the Red River Valley. We’ll become overcast in the mid-to-late afternoon and see a chance for a few flurries as the warm front pushes eastwards. This front will usher in warmer air for the weekend with highs near the 0°C mark and overnight lows dropping just shy of around -10°C.


  1. Normal daytime highs are around -13°C for mid-January.  ↩
  2. As usual, with a southerly wind the highways that will be affected most are those that run west/east.  ↩
  3. As evidenced by lightning in Northern Alberta last night.  ↩
Brad

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.