Unseasonal Warmth Will Challenge Numerous Records

Winnipeg will see the peak warmth of the current weather system move in today with temperatures climbing well above the freezing mark. The unseasonable warmth will challenge several record types: record highs, record high minimums, record high dew points, and record high minimum dew points.

Everything ending in °C will be the highlight over the coming days as even more warm air floods into the region. Today’s high will reach around 4°C, while tomorrow’s and Sunday’s highs will be near 3°C. Overnight lows will remain very mild as well, with lows near 0°C tonight, -5°C tomorrow night and +1°C on Sunday night.

Winnipeg, MB Temperature & Dewpoint Records for February 17-19
DateRecord TypeCurrent Record
February 17High Temperature5.4°C (1981)
High Minimum Temperature0.8 (1998)
High Dewpoint2.0°C (1981)
High Minimum Dewpoint-0.6°C (1998)
February 18High Temperature3.9°C (1954)
High Minimum Temperature-0.2°C (1998)
High Dewpoint0.6°C (1954)
High Minimum Dewpoint-1.3°C (1998)
February 19High Temperature5.6°C (1930)
High Minimum Temperature0.2°C (2016)
High Dewpoint0.6°C (1954)
High Minimum Dewpoint-0.5°C (1981)

These temperatures will challenge many of the records listed above. For daytime highs, it’s important to note that there will likely be significant variability around the city. The official records are for the official Environment & Climate Change Canada observing site located at the Winnipeg airport, which tends to be colder than much of the city during warm spells at this time of year. Throughout the city, temperatures could be anywhere from 2-4°C higher than what’s reported at the ECCC site.

The GDPS is forecasting temperatures up to 12-14°C above normal over the coming few days in Winnipeg.

Skies will see variable cloudiness over the next few days, but we’ll see no real threat of precipitation aside from a very low chance of a light rain shower this evening.

Winds will strength out of the southwest today to around 25-35 km/h with some gustiness, particularly near the western escarpment of the Red River Valley. These winds will continue overnight and then gradually taper off on Saturday. The wind will then swing around to the east/southeast on Saturday night and begin strengthening on Sunday to 20-30 km/h ahead of the next system.

Long Range

The beginning of next week will bring a Colorado Low that poses the threat for significant impact on the region, however it’s difficult to pin down much of a forecast at this point as solutions for this disturbance vary dramatically, with some models dragging the precipitation of the low up the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border and others shunting it well off to the east over Lake Superior.

What we can say is that there will be a Colorado Low that will threaten the region on Monday, potentially into Tuesday. This system will be bringing an abnormally high amount of moisture with it, and with the mild temperatures, that means that any precipitation from it would fall as rain. Forecast amounts have varied, but in general it seems like this system will produce a swath that receives 10-20mm of rain. Whether or not that falls in the Red River Valley will yet to be seen.

That much rainfall would be very abnormal for this time of year. Current rainfall records for this general time of year are:

Winnipeg, MB Rainfall Records for February 19-21
DateRecord TypeCurrent Record
February 19Rainfall1.0mm (1997)
February 20Rainfall0.3mm (1965)
February 21Rainfall5.8mm (1877)

The potential to over double the current record rainfall amount, all the while still having frozen ground with high water content and a fair amount of snow would likely introduce a risk for overland flooding.1 In North Dakota, the NWS has issued hazardous weather outlooks regarding this system for the potential for minor water level rises in low-lying areas and for area rivers. In the end, though, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in where exactly this system will track, so we’ll be keeping an eye on things as it develops.

Otherwise, temperatures will finally begin to cool back towards normal behind this system, but it continues to appear like southern Manitoba will be near the primary storm track and see more frequently unsettled weather through the remainder of next week.

Winnipeg’s seasonal daytime high is currently -8°C while the seasonal overnight low is -18°C.

  1. While I do have training in meteorology, this sort of issue is more of a hydrological challenge. I’m not formally trained in hydrology, but the fields are closely related and I do have some familiarity with it. That said, as it gets closer, monitor the news for any statements from the Province of Manitoba regarding the flooding threat. 

Yet Another Winter Heat Wave On The Way

Significantly above-normal temperatures will once again move into southern Manitoba as an upper-level ridge builds into the Prairies and draws mild Pacific air eastwards across the region.

Temperatures are heading up, up, up as warmer air spreads eastwards across the Prairies, pushed eastwards by a building upper-level ridge that is spreading across the region. The warm weather will peak on Friday with high temperatures near 5°C, some 10-15°C above average for this time of year. Friday’s high temperature may end up challenging the current record high for February 17th of 5.4°C set in 1981.

Temperatures are expected to be 10-20°C above normal throughout Manitoba on Friday

As with the warm spell in January, more abnormal will be the overnight lows which will be relatively mild, hovering near the freezing mark, thanks to fairly cloudy skies. This will result in overnight lows over 15°C above average for mid-February!

Aside from the warm weather, things will be fairly quiet through the remainder of the work week. Highs climb to around 5°C by Friday, lows up to the freezing mark, winds remain relatively light out of the south to southeast at 15-25 km/h, and skies cloud up tonight for much of the remainder of the week. No precipitation is expected through Friday.

Long Range

This weekend sees the upper-level ridge collapse, however temperatures will remain mild as a southerly flow is sustained by a developing Colorado Low. This system is forecast to lift northwards and then spread primarily rain through southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday.

Behind this system, temperatures will cool towards seasonal values and it appears a more active pattern may develop as the jet stream remains parked over the Northern Plains.

Winnipeg’s seasonal daytime high is currently -8°C while the seasonal overnight low is -18°C.

After A Chilly Wednesday, Temperatures Set to Skyrocket

It will be a bitterly cold morning today across southern Manitoba with wind chill values dipping as low as -42 or -43 in some locations, but this cold weather is short lived as a rapidly building upper-level ridge allows mild Pacific air to flood eastwards across the Prairies.

A bitterly cold ridge of high pressure will bring well below-seasonal temperatures to the region with daytime highs across southern Manitoba struggling to climb much above the -20°C mark. Winds will also pick up out of the west to around 20-30 km/h, maintaining wind chill values below -30 all day. No question about it, it’s going to be a cold one.

Temperatures will dip to the mid-minus 20’s tonight with relatively south to southwesterly light winds as the ridge axis moves through.

Thursday will begin the warmup as a the Arctic ridge begins moving off to the east and milder air begins pushing into southern Alberta & southwestern Saskatchewan. Here in Winnipeg, temperatures will climb to a high near -14°C with gradually increasing cloud cover. Winds will pick up out of the south in the late afternoon to around 30-40 km/h ahead of the incoming warm front. Snow will then spread into the region overnight with winds tapering off and temperatures rising to around -9°C by Friday morning.

A low pressure system will spread snow across southern Manitoba on Thursday night, however there is some uncertainty of how far north the snow will fall.

The snow will taper off on Friday morning, leaving behind mostly cloudy skies with a chance of freezing drizzle. Temperatures will continue to climb to a high near -2°C, although temperatures could climb above the freezing mark near the US border. Skies will become mixed as temperatures drop to a low near -12°C on Friday night.

Long Range

In general, the future looks pleasant. Above-normal temperatures are expected to be in place throughout all of next week with daytime highs averaging in the mid-minus single digits.

Winnipeg’s seasonal daytime high is currently -9°C while the seasonal overnight low is -20°C.

Slightly Cooler & Becoming Breezy

Temperatures will dip slightly through the second half of the week as breezy northwesterly winds develop across Southern Manitoba.

It’s another fairly simple forecast for the coming days ahead as little changes in the weather other than a slight shift in temperatures.

As a potent low pressure system that brought a wintry mix to South Dakota yesterday moves off into Eastern Canada, the slack flow that’s been in place over the province for the past week will be replaced by a northwesterly flow with breezy winds that will tap into slightly cooler temperatures.

Today will bring winds of 10-20 km/h and temperatures steady around -6°C. There will be a very slight chance of some flurries, but they would be quite light and scattered. Skies will be fairly cloudy, although a brief sunny break or two can’t be ruled out.

Temperatures will dip to around -11°C tonight, the coldest overnight low since January 17th when the mercury dipped to -16.0°C early in the morning.

Thursday will bring a cooler high temperature and relatively light winds as a ridge of high pressure passes across southern Manitoba. Temperatures will top out around -7°C with cloudy skies in the morning giving way to some sunny breaks in the afternoon. Temperatures will dip to a low near -12°C once again on Thursday night under partly cloudy skies.

Northwest winds are expected over Southern Manitoba on Friday

Friday brings mixed skies and strengthening northwesterly winds to 30-40 km/h. Temperatures will climb to a high near -3°C. It looks like the cloud cover will be reinforced late Friday, moderating overnight lows slightly as the temperature drops to about -8°C.

Long Range

The weekend will continue the trend of above normal temperatures and cloudy skies. Don’t expect to see much sunshine as a slight chance of light, scattered flurries persists through the weekend.

Above-Normal Temperatures Expected Until End of January

While the cold snap earlier this month seems to be a vivid memory of many people I talk to, it actually hasn’t been a cold month at all, temperature-wise.

The cold snap began on January 3rd and persisted through January 14th. Throughout that period, daytime highs averaged -17.6°C (4.5°C below normal) while overnight lows averaged -28.1 (5.1°C below normal). This resulted in a mean temperature of -22.8°C for that 12-day stretch, which is 4.8°C below normal.

By comparison, the latest warm spell began on January 15th and has persisted so far until January 24th. During this time frame, daytime highs have averaged -1.6°C (11.3°C above normal) and overnight lows have averaged -7.1°C (15.9°C above normal). The most extreme deviation from normal occurred on January 21st when a minimum temperature of +0.9°C occurred, breaking the daily record for warmest minimum temperature at a whopping 23.8°C above normal.1 This has resulted in a mean temperature of -4.4°C for that 10-day stretch, which is 13.6°C above normal.

All that to say, the warm has been much more unseasonable than the cold. January currently sits with a monthly mean temperature of -14.3°C, which is 3.7°C above normal.

Temperatures are expected to remain mild, albeit not as warm as we experienced earlier in the week, with daytime highs hovering between -8 and -1°C through the end of January. This means that another month of above-normal temperatures will likely be recorded in Winnipeg when January draws to a close.

Winnipeg’s seasonal daytime high is currently -12°C while the seasonal overnight low is -23°C.

  1. The previous record warmest January minimum temperature for January 21st was -3.3°C set in 1900.