Big Changes in 2012

A Weather Moment is proud to continue serving Winnipeggers and the surrounding communities into 2012. As this site continues to develop a community, we plan to bring several additions to the site to help create the go-to place for your weather needs and curiosities this year. Several improvements and additions are already underway, and I thought I’d just outline some of the new things coming up for the site.

More Content

Writing about the weather can be a feast-or-famine affair. Since I started the blog, I find there are stretches where you could write a lengthy post each day about upcoming weather, followed by 2-3 weeks of…well…nothing. However, what’s the point of coming to a site that doesn’t update for 2 weeks? So with that in mind, we plan on providing more regular content. There are several aspects that will help with this:

  1. The tentative plan is to have a M/W/F posting schedule, with additional posts as needed given various weather setups. Please have patience as over the next month we try to meet that schedule and/or decide on other setups that might work better (e.g Mon/Wed/Sat). We are aiming for 3 posts a week, though.
  2. When there are stretches of no significant weather, we plan on tapping into the original plan of doing more educational posts on how various aspects of the weather work. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t really followed through on that promise for the blog, and it will be rectified this year!
  3. In order to keep up with all this, I’m privileged to announce that Scott, who previously ran, blogged, and forecasted at will be joining staff as an occasional writer. I have full faith in his analysis and forecasting skills and think he will be an excellent addition to the writing team! Some of you are familiar with him, I’m sure, and he is excited to come on board and be a part of this growing community. So people know, I’ve now added a small label at the bottom of each post so you can see who the author of it is.

Expanded Site

The second main goal I have for 2012 is to being to provide tools on this site that will help facilitate forecasting. Over the past year, I’ve developed several exciting new tools that are unlike anything available on the internet right now. I plan on providing them on A Weather Moment to help the community develop their own forecasts and add to discussions. With the tools I aim to provide by the end of February, three things will be much easier:

  1. Viewing model data
  2. Viewing satellite & other real data
  3. Access to text bulletins such as the FOCN45 Prairie Weather Outlook and the SPC’s Day 1/2/3 Severe Weather Outlooks.

As these tools are added to the site, I hope to enable this community to further their understanding of the weather and to have the skills and tools to make informed weather decisions by yourselves!

WX-Central Mobile

As the person who maintains the mobile version of U of M Weather Central, I plan on doing a significant upgrade to make it the best place to get your weather information while on the go. Expect that to be finished sometime in the second half of this year. If you aren’t using it yet, I highly recommend you check it out (and not just because I made it) at

Lastly, as this site is always a work in progress, always feel free to get in touch with us by e-mailing any questions or suggestions to

The Rest

I’m very excited for the future of this site. With Scott’s help, we want to help build a passionate community of enthusiasts and amateur forecasters by providing the topics, forum and tools.

User Photos: One thing I want to strongly encourage people to send in their photos during significant weather events. The two best ways to do it are to either e-mail them to us or attach them to a comment:

How to attach a photo to a comment

How to attach a photo to a comment.

The last post about the record-breaking temperatures is the most commented on post since this site began! Thanks all for contributing to the conversation! I hope you stick with us and enjoy the ride this site will be going on this year. Won’t be long before we can talk about thunderstorms again!

Design: I am continuing to update the page’s design, to make it better able to support new features in the future and to make it aesthetically pleasing. I’d love feedback on it as I go, and don’t be surprised if you see a new thing here or there when you’re browsing the site. I’ve also done quite a bit of work on the mobile version of the site, so if you’re using an iPhone or iPod, give it a try! I’d love feedback on how it looks on older iDevices (i.e. iPod Touch 1G/2G/3G, iPhone 3G/3GS) as well, if anybody is using them!

And that’s all the site news for now! Back to the weather…

Potentially Record-Breaking Warmth on the Way!

Warmer weather is on the way for Winnipeg this week as another surge of mild pacific air crosses the Prairies. Temperatures will push well past 0°C on Thursday, with several record highs at risk of being broken across Southern Manitoba.

00Z Fri. SFC Temperature from GEMGLB

Surface Temperature plot valid for 00Z, Friday January 6th, 2012

Warm air will surge across the Prairies with a low pressure system that will track across the Central/Northern Prairies Wednesday/Thursday. Those of us in the Southern Prairies will get to enjoy a nice early-January day where temperatures will reach between 5°C and 10°C by Thursday afternoon with relatively light winds.

Temperatures should be restricted by the snow cover, and I’d like to see a solidly southwest wind to get daytime highs as high as currently forecast (+7°C for Winnipeg).

Thursday, January 5, 2012 18Z Wind Field from GEM-GLB

Surface Wind & MSLP for Thursday, January 05 valid at 18Z from the January 3rd, 2012 12Z run of the GEM-GLB.

Currently, winds are forecast to shift from southerly to westerly in the afternoon, however if the troughing ahead of the low is not as deep as currently forecast, southerly winds could prevail in the RRV and keep our temperature significantly lower. That being said, I’d be willing to pin the daytime high for Winnipeg to be about 6°C, reached late in the afternoon. This temperature is well above the -16°C it reached last year on January 5th, the -13.5°C on January 5th, 2010, and the -24°C it reached on January 5th 2009.

The average daytime high temperature for January in Winnipeg is -12.7°C, and the warmest temperature on record for any day in January in Winnipeg is 7.8°C, set on January 23, 1942. The current record high for January 5th is 4.3°C, set in 1984. We will definitely be well above our average daytime high on Thursday and most likely break the old daily record. Is it enough to break the all-time temperature record for January in Winnipeg? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Light New Year’s Reading: Top 10 Weather Stories of 2011

Tropical Storm Washi

Tropical Storm Washi; 01:45 UTC Dec. 16, 2011 as it bore down on the Phillipines

On the eve of 2012, what better time to do some reading on 2011? Here are two of my favourite Top 10 Weather Story lists:

  • Environment Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories of 2011
    1. The Prairie Floods
    2. Slave Lake Blaze
    3. Richelieu Flooding
    4. Wild Crop Season
    5. Goderich Tornado
    6. Irene, Katia, Maria and Ophelia Batter the Maritimes
    7. Dramatic Summer
    8. Near Record-Low Arctic Sea Ice
    9. Snowmageddon
    10. Calgary Wind Storm
  • Jeff Masters Top 10 Weather Stories of 2011
    1. East Africa Drough and Famine
    2. Thailand Flooding
    3. Queensland, Australia Flooding
    4. Columbia Floods
    5. Tropical Storm Washi
    6. Brazil Flash Flood
    7. April 25-28 “Super” Tornado Outbreak
    8. Southern U.S./Northern Mexico Drought
    9. Pakistan Floods
    10. (Tie) Hurricane Irene
    11. (Tie) Joplin Missouri Tornado Outbreak

I’d make my own, but I pretty much agree with these two lists! So if you’re looking for some casual reading this afternoon, hit the links for more detail about all these events! From all of us here at A Weather Moment, we wish all our readers a happy and safe New Year! We appreciate all who take the time to visit and read our blog and we can’t wait to show you all the things we have in store for 2012!

Chance of Freezing Rain Over The Red River Valley

A large upper trough swinging across the Prairies is supporting two low pressure systems, one in central Saskatchewan and one in the Northern Plains of the United States, that will move across Manitoba overnight and tomorrow morning, bringing with them snow and the risk of freezing rain.

Dec. 31 Prog

For southern Manitoba, the main concern will be the precipitation generated along the apex of the frontal wave as it occludes southeastwards from the northern low in Central Manitoba to Minnesota. The warm front will align somewhere near a line from Winnipeg to Sprague, and slowly shift south/southeast through the day. Areas near the International Border have the greatest risk of freezing rain, due to the higher intensity of the precipitation expected there. The risk diminishes as you head north towards Winnipeg. I agree with the latest Environment Canada forecast that calls for ice pellets in Winnipeg; the warmest air should stay south of the city and we will likely have enough cold air entrenched to freeze any rain that comes out of an above-freezing layer. I can’t exclude the chance of a brief period or two of freezing rain, especially late overnight and early tomorrow morning. As this system develops, snow will become the predominant weather type, and much of the RRV can expect between 2-4 cm of the white stuff, while a few localities may get up to a couple inches.

I think it’s likely areas south of Morris will see some duration of freezing rain before sitching over to snow. The good news is that this doesn’t have the makings for a large-scale freezing-rain event, so there shouldn’t be any concern of widespread highway closures. Given that some roads are already very slippery, however, drivers should take caution when travelling overnight or tomorrow as fresh snow may be hiding a layer of ice underneath. Always drive with care when freezing rain and snow occur.

This system should clear out tomorrow afternoon, bringing in strong northwesterly winds behind it gusting up to 70 km/h. Fortunately, the arctic cold front is well to our north, so while chilly, we likely won’t even seen our temperature drop to even -15 to -20°C for overnight lows before the next swell of warm air pushes across the Prairies, bringing us continued pleasant winter weather with daytime highs in the -5 to 0°C range! The strong winds will move in tomorrow evening and last through much of the day on Sunday before tapering off, bringing us wind chill values as low as -25 in Winnipeg.

So hang in there, a couple chilly days and we’ll be back to pleasant temperatures with a fresh coat of snow! Happy New Year!