State of the Climate: Meteorological Spring 2014

Meteorological Spring Stats and Rankings for Winnipeg
Category Spring 2014 Total or Average Rank (since 1872)
High Temp. 5.6°C Tied 19th Coldest
Mean Temp. -0.4°C Tied 20th Coldest
Low Temp. -6.2°C Tied 22nd Coldest
Rainfall 67.2 mm 59th Least Rainy
Snowfall 31.4 cm 59th Snowiest

Despite a seasonal May temperature-wise, the meteorological spring[1] of 2014 still averaged well below normal thanks to a frigid April and March. The spring averaged -0.4°C, 3.8°C below the 1981-2010 normal of 3.4°C. Thus this was the 9th coldest spring in the last century and tied for 20th coldest since 1872. In comparison, last spring in 2013 was a tad colder, averaging -0.6°C. It was just 2 years ago that we experienced our 2nd warmest spring on record. We’re sure paying for that now!

A Variety of Weather Conditions in May

Because I’ve already talked a lot of about March and April in 2014 – The Year so Far a few weeks ago, I’ll talk mainly about the month of May in this post.
May started out just like every other month since last fall: below normal. Things began warming up mid-month with our first 20°C of the year on May 10 when we reached 23.2°C. This marked the 18th latest first 20°C of the year since 1872 and the latest since 1996 when we did not reach 20°C until May 18. The 1981-2010 normal is April 20 and thus, we were a good 3 weeks behind schedule this year.

After some snow on May 14, mother nature had a dramatic mood swing in the 3rd week of May as July-like conditions arrived. Just 10 days after seeing snow, temperatures soared to a record 33.3°C on May 24, breaking the old record of 32.7°C in 1980. This also marked the first 30°C reading in May since 2007 and was the hottest May day since 1995. Temperatures soared again on May 29, reaching 32.7°C. With two days above 32°C, it was the most 32°C+ days in May since 1995 when there were also two.
With the warmer weather came thunderstorms. Winnipeg received its first thunderstorm of the season on May 20, the 8th latest start to the thunderstorm season since 1953. This follows the 2nd latest start last year. 1981-2010 normal first thunderstorm of the year is April 27.

In the end, May averaged 11.3°C which is pretty much bang on the normal of 11.4°C. However, at 0.1°C below this normal it is just enough to continue the streak of colder than normal months. May stands as the 8th consecutive colder than normal month, a streak which began last October. This ties for 7th longest below normal streak since 1872.

Top 12 Longest Streaks of Colder Than Normal Months Since 1872
Rank # of Consecutive Below Normal Months Timeframe
1 18 months Dec 1882-May 1884
2 14 months Jul 1884-Aug 1885
3 11 months Oct 1887-Aug 1888
4 9 months 1949/50, 2008/09 & 2012/13
7 8 months 6 occurrences (including 2014)

Thankfully, May ended a 5-month streak of months averaging over 3.5°C below normal, the longest streak of its kind since 1872. Prior to this year, the longest was just 3 months.
May this year also continued a now 2 decade-long trend of cool Mays. We have not had a top 35 warmest May in 23 years. The last time was in 1991 which featured a tie for 5th warmest May. Since then, 6 Mays were among the top 35 coldest.

The Year So Far

The monthly and accumulated year-to-date temperature deviation from the normal monthly average temperatures.
The monthly and accumulated year-to-date temperature deviation from the normal monthly average temperatures.

So far this year we have averaged -8.2°C (January to May), 4.2°C below normal and the 16th coldest first 5 months of the year since 1873. It is also the coldest since 1996 and the 5th coldest in the last century. This is little improvement from the 15th coldest first third of the year (January to April) we experienced.

  1. Meteorlogical spring lasts through the months March, April and May.  ↩


Born in Saskatchewan and now residing in Winnipeg, Julien has had a life-long love for weather. Julien ran his "Winnipeg Weather" blog from 2011 to 2015 and officially joined the A Weather Moment team in 2014. In addition to the weather itself, Julien also enjoys gathering weather statistics. Continuing down the path of his lifelong love for weather, Julien is working towards his B. Sc. in Atmospheric Sciences and is currently in his final year.

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