A Snowy Start to the Weekend

A winter storm that is bringing all manner of treacherous weather to Alberta[1] will extend into Manitoba today and tomorrow in what could only be considered “a complicated setup.” Snow will arrive in multiple batches as weak upper-level impulses slide west-to-east across the province along a very strong mid-level warm front before the main low pressure system works its way into North Dakota spreading a final area of snow across Southern Manitoba alongside gusty northerly winds and colder temperatures. The whole system will push off into Ontario for Sunday leaving clear skies and cold weather to round out our weekend.

-11°C / ⇒ -11°C
Mainly cloudy with a chance of flurries; snow overnight
⇓ -17°C / -22°C
Snow tapering off to a chance of flurries
-19°C / -28°C
Clearing and cold
Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for the Parkland & Interlake regions.
Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for the Parkland & Interlake regions.

While snow falls over Western Manitoba today, it will be a bit of a different story here in Winnipeg & the Red River Valley as some scattered morning flurry activity gives way to a fairly cloudy day with just a slight chance of some more scattered flurries. By late in the afternoon, however, more organized snow will begin building into the Red River Valley from the northwest, spreading southeastwards through the night.

This particular shot of snow will be courtesy of a very strong warm front in the mid-levels of the atmosphere that has been producing exceptionally snowy conditions in Alberta & Saskatchewan. Snow will continue through much of the night (a few breaks in the snow are possible) and into Saturday morning.

On Saturday, a strong cold front will push through the Red River Valley midday. This will lead to another distinct shot of snow associated with the cold front and the mixing zone behind it.[2] By the time all is said and done, around 5-10cm will likely have fallen here in Winnipeg and through much of the Red River Valley. If things really go off the rails, little could be seen as the first band of snow remains further north and the second band of snow passes to our south, but I don’t think that outcome is likely.

The "most probable" snowfall totals from the morning of Friday November 28th to the evening of Saturday November 29th, 2014.
The “most probable” snowfall totals from the morning of Friday November 28th to the evening of Saturday November 29th, 2014.

The snowfall winners will be through Parkland Manitoba and the Interlake, where general amounts of 15-20cm are expected. Due to the terrain in the Parkland, up to a foot of snow could potentially fall in any areas prone to upslope enhancement.[3] The snow will taper off from northwest to southeast through Saturday afternoon.

Daytime highs today will range from around -10°C near the international border to -11°C here in Winnipeg to the mid-minus teens in the northern Interlake westwards into the Swan River region. Temperatures will remain fairly steady tonight through the Red River Valley, perhaps dropping a degree or two. Tomorrow will bring falling temperatures throughout the province as that cold front sweeps through; by the end of the afternoon temperatures will likely have dropped to around -17°C or so and then continue on an overnight low dropping into the -20 in range.

Sunday will bring clear and cold conditions to Winnipeg & Southern Manitoba. Highs will climb just above -20°C before dropping back down into the low -20s on Sunday night.

  1. At one point yesterday, Environment Canada had issued winter storm warnings, heavy snowfall warnings, freezing drizzle advisories, and snow squall watches simultaneously for various parts of Alberta.  ↩
  2. It’s not uncommon to have what’s known as a “mixing zone” behind strong cold fronts in the winter time; the intense temperature contrast between the Arctic air and the air its replacing can result in as much as several hundred kilometers of low cloud and light-to-moderate snow in the wake of the front.  ↩
  3. …which essentially means anyone near the Riding Mountains or the escarpment.  ↩


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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