A compact shortwave moving across southwestern Manitoba will bring snowfall to the Red River Valley and areas west today and tonight.
A broad area of moderate lift ahead of a shortwave is producing an area of snow that will push eastwards into the Red River Valley by late morning, although the exact eastward extent of the snowfall will be quite tricky to nail down as the lift creating the snow will [somewhere near the Red River Valley] slow down and pivot to the south as the shortwave dives into the Dakotas.
Before we get to snowfall accumulations, we’ll quickly cover our temperatures for the weekend. Because no surface fronts are associated with the weather we’ll get (all of the forcing is aloft), temperatures through the Red River Valley will not vary too much from yesterday. Daytime highs through the weekend will vary from about 0°C to 2°C. Overnight lows through the weekend will generally sit around -4°C, plus or minus just a couple degrees.
Onto the snowfall! Snow has spread into SW Manitoba overnight, bringing light to moderate snow that will last another 12-18 hours. Snow will begin to push into the RRV by late morning, however the eastern extent is difficult to pin down with amounts likely diminishing somewhere over the eastern Red River Valley into the Whiteshell. One of the biggest challenges to this system will be the SLR: snow-to-liquid ratio. This is a measure of how much snow a certain amount of water will generate. Typically on the Prairies, SLRs tend to be in the 10:1 to 15:1 range; if you had a 10:1 SLR, that would mean that 1mm of liquid water would produce 1cm of snow. If it were 15:1, then 1mm of liquid water would produce 1.5cm of snow.
Over southwestern Manitoba models are predicting generally 10mm of precipitation, over the Parkland regions of Manitoba about 5-10mm is expected to fall and over the Red River Valley, 2-5mm is forecast. Best guidance is showing SLR values of around 11:1, which would result in the following snowfalls:
- Southwestern Manitoba: 11cm
- Parkland Manitoba: 6-11cm
- The Red River Valley: 2-6cm
The greatest uncertainty with this system is how far eastwards the snow will push, but in general, this will be the first accumulating snowfall in quite a while over Southern Manitoba. Winds will be light throughout this event, which will prevent blowing snow from being a problem, but drivers should be prepared for the potential of poor driving conditions through the Red River Valley and areas across the west and southwest portions of the province tonight through tomorrow morning.
Some lingering light snow will be out and about through the rest of the weekend, but no significant snowfall is expected.