A Cooler Week Ahead

A cooler week is in store for us as we move into the last month of meteorological winter. Temperatures don’t, however, look like they’ll be too far from normal through most of the week.

Surface Pressure Map

Surface Pressure Map – valid 12Z Tuesday, February 6, 2012

With the passage of a cold front this morning, gusty northerly winds will usher colder air into Southern Manitoba. As a result temperatures will fall throughout the day today, with midday conditions in the mid-minus single digits. There will be a few scattered flurries this morning through Southern Manitoba as the cold front works its way through the area, however there will be no significant accumulations with them. Tonight, a strong area of high pressure will build into Southern Manitoba, with the central pressure expected to be as high as 1045mb. This will bring significantly colder temperatures than we’ve enjoyed over the past week to our area overnight, with lows expected to be near -20°C in Winnipeg and as low as -25 or -26°C in some areas in the Red River Valley. Tuesday won’t be an extremely cold day as a weak warm front will push into our area from the north, but it will still be colder than we have been used to lately with highs unlikely to exceed -10C. Conditions through Wednesday will be slightly warmer, with highs expected to rise back up into the minus single digits.

Friday Morning GEMGLB Forecast Temperatures

Forecast surface temperatures from the GEM-GLB model valid 06Z Friday, February 10th with analysis. The thick black line represents the cold front.

There is some uncertainty as to how the weather will unfold later this week. Models are hinting at the potential for another push of cold air on Thursday into Friday as another cold front sweeps through the province. Models currently differ on the exact strength of the cold push, however, as shown in the image above, some models push temperatures as low as -30°C back into Southern Manitoba. Which if it comes true, we can at least take solace that we don’t live in Northern Saskatchewan, where temperatures are forecast to be as low as -45°C!

Elsewhere in Weather News

Europe Battles Cold and Snow

This past week Europe was battered with what Canadians would call a “light snowfall” where many parts of the United-Kingdom, including London, received 10cm of snow this past weekend. The European infrastructure isn’t equipped to handle a snow storm of such magnitude which was affirmed by the fact that there were widespread airport cancellations and traffic was crawling to a standstill – some drivers were even stuck in their cars on the freeways overnight. The storm also prompted the UK Met offices to issue freezing rain warnings and cold weather alerts. The snowfall was due to a warm front pushing inland off the Atlantic Ocean and clashing with colder air that was present in the region prior, thanks to another low pressure system off to the east. The snow storm that has been wreaking havoc is forecast to lift and leave the area by Tuesday morning, leaving warmer temperatures behind and clearer conditions to come.

Surface Map for the UK

System’s analysis with the warm front arriving inland, clashing with the colder air to the east (occluded front). (Source: Met Office: UK)

Cold weather also affected other parts of Europe including Ukraine and Italy, with Ukraine being one of the hardest-hit of the Eastern European countries and experiencing tragedy. Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, normally has temperatures averaging minus five Celsius for the month of February. During this cold snap however, temperatures dipped lower than minus thirty Celsius and many people have died – over 300 as of this posting. Temperatures for the next week are forecast to remain well below average, with highs only reaching the minus teens.

Snow in Rome

City of Rome, largest snowfall in two and a half decades. (Source: Dailymail)

In Rome, Italy, the city has received its largest snowfall in two and a half decades. The city was buried in ten to twenty centimetres, leaving the city paralyzed and people freezing in their houses, since homeowners are only allowed twelve hours of heating per day (to reduce emissions). As the low pressure system plans to stick around for a couple more days, Rome will experience well below average high temperatures of about five Celsius (average of thirteen Celsius).

Surface Map of Europe

Europe’s system analysis, Feb 5th, showing both lows impacting Europe. (Source: Intellicast)

Elsewhere in Weather News has been provided by Matt

Pleasant Weekend Ahead…Enjoy It!

Winnipeg, along with the rest of Southern Manitoba, will enjoy a very pleasant weekend with temperatures climbing above 0°C over the next few days before a cold front sweeps through Southern Manitoba on Monday morning.

Foggy Winnipeg

A foggy morning in Winnipeg; submitted by JJ.

Winnipeg and the Red River Valley will enjoy a beautiful weekend with most cloud clearing out by this afternoon. Daytime highs will continue to climb over the next three days, with highs climbing to near 1 to 2°C today and Saturday, and getting up to nearly 4°C on Sunday.

Our warm temperatures, combined with light winds forecast for tonight means that fog will likely redevelop through many areas in the RRV; if it makes a return tonight, it will be the fourth night in a row with fog in Winnipeg and surrounding areas. Winds are forecast to increase through the night on Saturday night to 10-15km/h which should be enough to prevent fog from forming again.

Sunday Morning Prognosis

Analysis of the 72h prognosis from the GEM-Global, valid 12Z Sunday morning. Warm fronts and cold fronts are represented by red and blue lines, respectively.

The next change in the weather will be coming on Monday morning to Southern Manitoba. Through the weekend, a powerful low pressure system will track through the NWT into the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. This system will shift the large-scale pattern over the center of the continent and will allow arctic air that has been trapped unusually far north over the past couple weeks to spill southwards across the Eastern Prairies. The cold front will sweep across Manitoba on Sunday and push through Winnipeg by Monday morning.

This will bring brisk northerly winds to us for Monday and temperatures that gradually fall through the day. Currently it looks like we could see temperatures as low as -26°C on monday night into tuesday morning. Very little moisture is associated with this system, and current indications are that there will be very little or no snow with the passage of the cold front. Temperatures will be a little below normal on Tuesday and Wednesday, with daytime highs a little below -10°C.

A Pleasant Week

Now that we’ve gotten our uncertain snow systems out of the way, Winnipeg will enjoy a pleasant rest of the week with mild temperatures and increasingly sunny skies.

500mb Winds & Heights

500mb Heights & Winds valid 12Z Thursday morning, Februrary 2nd, 2012.

As this week progresses, we’ll see a zonal upper flow begin to amplify slowly as upper-level ridging builds into the Prairies. This will result in a fairly simple forecast:

  • We should expect daytime highs close to freezing, moving towards slightly above freezing (2 or 3°C) by the weekend, with overnight lows between -10°C and -5°C.
  • We’ll have just a very slight chance of flurries this morning and Thursday morning as a couple weak troughs pass through the Red River Valley associated with some weak shortwaves that are embedded in the amplifying upper level flow.
  • We should see the sun poke out in a mix of sun and clouds this afternoon, and then see clearing skies overnight. We should then see mostly sunny skies for the rest of the week!

The long-term forecast looks pretty quiet, with most major systems keeping well south of Manitoba and upper ridging dominating our weather pattern. Long-range models hint at a high over low block setting up over the Northwestern United States in the 7-10 day range, which would allow colder arctic air to spill southwards over Saskatchewan and Manitoba; but that’s a long ways off and could all change! For the rest of this week, we’ll be enjoying above-normal temperatures and finish the week with plenty of sunshine.

And for those who are curious, Rob has written up a good summary of this past January’s temperatures on his blog. This January was the 3rd warmest January on record, coming in behind the January 1944 and January 2006. This comes right after the 9th mildest December on record, and pushes our streak of months with above normal temperatures to 7 consecutive months!