Shot of Cold Air Incoming

The mild, dry weather we’ve experienced over the past week and a half continues for a couple more days before a powerful cold front sweeps through Southern Manitoba on Thursday night, bringing much colder temperatures to the region. Fortunately, the cool-down is expected to be short-lived with temperatures returning to seasonal values by the end of the weekend.

7°C / -3°C
Mainly sunny

8°C / -8°C
Partly cloudy

-4°C / -15°C
Mainly sunny & breezy

Today will be another beautiful day with a high near 7 or 8°C, light winds and just a bit of cloudiness. Temperatures will drop to around –3°C tonight with light southerlies and mainly clear skies. Tomorrow looks quite nice as well with partly cloudy skies and a high near 8°C. Unfortunately, a big change is swinging through on Thursday night.

A potent cold front will swing through Winnipeg & the Red River Valley overnight Thursday, bringing with it a chance for some flurries and much cooler air. Winds won’t be too bad through Thursday night, perhaps to around 20km/h or so. Expect a low somewhere in the –8 to –10°C range.

Much cooler weather will persist through Friday and Saturday. Friday will be quite an unpleasant day as northerlies strengthen through the day to around 30–40km/h by late afternoon. The temperature will only climb to around –4°C for a high which will make it the coldest day since March 6th when the mercury topped out at +0.8°C. Temperatures will plummet into the mid-minus teens on Friday night as those strong northerlies really tap into the colder Arctic air plunging southwards.

Cool, Dry Weekend Ahead

This coming weekend will be dry and generally cool as a ridge of Arctic high pressure dominates the weather over the Red River Valley. Saturday will see highs near –6°C or so while the high on Sunday manages to climb back up towards the 0°C mark.

Record Snow Pack Loss

As of Sunday (March 15th, 2015), Winnipeg’s snow pack officially fell to 0cm. This was thanks to a dramatic melt that took much of Southern Manitoba from snow-covered to bare ground in just a few days thanks to a surge of record-setting warm air.[1]

MODIS imagery revealing significant snow pack melt in Southern Manitoba
MODIS satellite imagery reveals the dramatic melting of the snow pack over much of Southern Manitoba in under a week.

A snow depth of 0cm on March 15th ties for the 3rd earliest snow melt on record since 1955, trailing 2012 by just one day:

Top 11 Earliest Snow Melts (1955 – Present)
Rank Date of 0cm Snow Depth Year(s)
1 February 28 2000
2 March 14 2012
3 March 15 1995, 2015
5 March 17 1981
6 March 18 1973, 2010
8 March 21 1994, 1999
10 March 26 1961, 1984

The early melt was icing on the cake for Winnipeggers wary of a repeat of the never-ending winter of 2013/14. The winter of 2014/15 was effectively 4 months long – from mid-November to mid-March – of which 2 months of it was unseasonably mild. Not bad at all.

  1. On Saturday March 14th, 9 communities in Manitoba set record highs: Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Gretna, Dauphin, Brandon, Melita, Pilot Mound, Pinawa, and Sprague.  ↩


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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