Cold Snap Leads Into Another Alberta Clipper

The coldest temperatures so far this season will be settling in for a short stay in Southern Manitoba before a powerful series of clippers move across the Prairies at the end of the week, bringing what may become one of the most potent winter storms seen so far this winter.

-18°C / -30°C
Mainly sunny
-17°C / ⇑ -14°C
Increasing cloudiness
-10°C / -13°C
Chance of flurries

The deep freeze settles over Manitoba today as a potent high pressure system moves in from Northern Saskatchewan, bringing with it a fresh shot of Arctic air. Temperatures will warm to around -18°C from the mid-minus-twenties present this morning under mainly sunny skies. Tonight will bring the coldest temperatures of the season to Winnipeg and the Red River Valley with overnight lows dropping dangerously close – or even just below – the -30°C mark. Tonight’s record low for Winnipeg is -36.1°C set in 1891, so some solace can be had knowing it’s been colder.[1]

Tomorrow will see the cold air exit the region as a major system making landfall in British Columbia begins pushing warmer air eastwards across the Prairies. Temperatures will be on their way up, up, up with a daytime high near -17°C followed by a rising temperature trend overnight that brings temperatures up to around -14°C by Friday morning. While Thursday will start off clear, cloud will start spreading into the Red River Valley sometime midday or into the afternoon, with things becoming completely cloudy sometime in the evening.

Some light snow is possible on Thursday night along a mid-level trough in the region. While more consistent snow is likely over southwestern portions of the province, here in the Red River Valley little is expected in the way of accumulations. We’ll keep an eye on it, but it looks like amounts will remain less than 2cm in any activity that develops.

Friday Brings Winter Storm to Portions of Manitoba

Friday will likely be a bit of a mess of a day…somewhere. A potent low pressure system will track eastwards near the international border, spreading an area of snow ahead of it and another area of snow to its north. It’s really too early to make too many accurate predictions other than a whole host of weather being possible on Saturday. Some areas of the Red River Valley will likely see some snow while a more organized snow event occurs (once again) through Parkland Manitoba eastwards through the Interlake and into the Berens River Region. There’s simply too much uncertainty with the track and strength of the low at the moment to create a snowfall forecast; it looks like a possible snowfall warning event will occur through the Interlake[2] while lesser amounts track along and south of the Trans-Canada corridor. We’ll be making a snowfall forecast graphic a little closer to the event when we can have more confidence in the amounts.

Just one of many model solutions, the GDPS shows lighter precipitation amounts (just 2-5cm of snow, generally) in Southern Manitoba from Friday morning to Saturday morning.
Just one of many model solutions, the GDPS shows lighter precipitation amounts (just 2-5cm of snow, generally) in Southern Manitoba from Friday morning to Saturday morning.

On Friday evening, temperatures will continue to rise with southerly winds into the mid-minus single digits, but then the low will pass and the winds shift around to northwesterly at 30-40km/h. Ample low-level moisture coupled with an incoming – and very dry – 50kt jet at 700mb may result in some freezing drizzle or snow grains overnight. The northwesterly winds will bring in substantially colder air with temperatures dropping to around -12 or -13°C after the evening rising trend.

Colder Air Returns for the Weekend

Saturday will bring clearing skies as another ridge of high pressure moves into the province. Temperatures will only recover slightly from Friday’s overnight low thanks to a fairly breezy northwesterly wind before dropping into the mid-minus 20’s on Saturday night under clear skies. Sunday looks sunny with a high in the low minus teens and calmer winds.

  1. Words of minimal comfort, I know.  ↩
  2. Environment Canada issues snowfall warnings when accumulations of ≥ 10cm are expected in a 12 hour period.  ↩


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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