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!

What Happened to Our La Nina?

What Happened to Our La Nina?

Slight Chance of Showers Saturday Evening

A system tracking across the Rockies into Alberta will slide quickly across the Prairies, brining increasing cloudiness to Winnipeg and the RRV Saturday afternoon with a slight chance of showers in the evening. For more info, read on!

12Z 21 October GEM-REG 3 hour precipitation accumulation valid at 00Z Sunday (Saturday Evening)

Overnight a low pressure system will track across the Central Prairies towards Manitoba with a developing N-S trough intensifying as it moves eastwards. As it enters The Pas and Norway House areas on Saturday, Winnipeg and the RRV will see increasing clouds and a strengthening southerly wind to 30-40 km/h. As the trough swings through Winnipeg in the late afternoon and early evening, we’ll see a slight chance of a shower or two. The bulk of the precipitation should stay north of the city, closer to the low, where there is more significant lift. All models bring the edge of the rain close to Winnipeg, though, so it certainly isn’t out of the question for us to end up getting 2-4 mm out of an hour or two of rain. It seems most likely, though, that late afternoon and the evening will be overcast with a scattered shower or two.

After this system passes through, we’ll enter a stagnant pattern for a couple days with daytime highs just below 10°C and overnight lows slightly below 0°C.

Ensemble 500mb Theta-E
Ensemble Mean 500mb θe

The next chance for significant weather looks to be next Tuesday night / Wednesday morning as a rather sharp 500mb cold trough swings across the province. This will present us with a slight chance of flurries overnight, but shouldn’t amount to too much. More on that next week.

Have a great weekend and enjoy these crisp fall days!