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.
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!