Staying Hot, Storms Possible

This week will start out right where last week left off – hot!

Monday's temperatures at 1pm

Temperatures at 1pm on Monday. The dark green colour represents temperatures between 30 and 35C.

Today will be another hot and humid day in Southern Manitoba. High temperatures are expected to be in the upper twenties, or possibly thirty degrees, with thunderstorms possible both in the morning and later in the day. There will some cloud and possible rain or thunderstorms during the morning from a decaying thunderstorm complex. The speed at which this complex clears the region will determine how hot it will get. The progress of this complex will also determine if there is a second round of storms on Monday afternoon and evening. If it stays cloudy all day with temperatures remaining low then it is unlikely that there will be a second round of storms later in the day. Based on current model guidance it does appear that the clouds will clear out in the afternoon, but there remains some uncertainty with this.

Tuesday will be hot once again, but somewhat less humid than Monday. Temperatures will be up near 30C, but thunderstorms are not expected.

Wednesday will be yet another tricky forecast. A cold front is expected to swing through Manitoba at some point on Wednesday, but it is not entirely clear when that will happen. If the cold front goes through in the morning the day will be warm, but not humid, with highs in the mid to upper twenties. However, if the front only goes through in the evening it will be hot and humid with the risk of severe thunderstorms. The details of Wednesday should become more clear over the next day or two.

You’ll probably be surprised to hear that more hot weather is expected to start July (hint, I hope you’re NOT surprised). Models point to continued hot weather for at least the next 7-10 days as we roll smoothly in the heart of summer.

A quick note…Myself and Matt will be chasing south of the border today! You can keep tabs on our progress using the twitter feed by clicking through below.

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A Scorching Week to End With A Bang

Temperatures are set to soar for the remainder of this week as heat sourced from the Gulf of Mexico builds into Southern Manitoba. Residents across all of Southern Manitoba should begin to prepare for a potentially dangerous end-of-week though, as a powerful low pressure system will threaten the first significant severe weather outbreak of the season.

850mb Theta-E Chart for 06Z Thursday

850mb theta-e (a form of measuring temperature) chart valid for 06Z Thursday 07 May. The light-red arrows depict the advection of heat from the Gulf of Mexico through Southern Manitoba.

A southerly flow of air aloft, aided by a long-wave trough over the Rocky Mountains to our west and a blocking high to our east, will bring us our hottest days of the year through the rest of this week. Temperatures at 850mb are expected to rise to nearly 20°C today, which will result in daytime highs between 25-30°C through the second half of this week.

A weak low will move through Southern Manitoba on Thursaday night ahead of the main upper trough and while parameters don’t look too great for severe weather, a band of thunderstorms will likely develop in the late afternoon or early evening, intensify, and slowly move east-northeast. While tornadoes aren’t a likely threat with these storms on Thursday afternoon/night, CAPE values in the range of 1250-1750 J/kg combined with LIs near -5 and 20-30kt of bulk shear should provide enough for a threat of large hail. The slow-moving nature of the line of storms could potentially also produce a risk of locally heavy rainfall, with as much as 0.75-1.25” falling over a relatively short period of time. While showers will be commonplace over southwest Manitoba throughout the day on Thursday, the risk for showers does extend eastwards through the western and central Red River Valley in the afternoon. The bulk of precipitation will occur with the thunderstorms that develop in the evening, though.

This is still about 36 hours away, though, and things could change quite a bit between now and then. Models are having a hard time degrading the blocking pattern that’s in place right now, and some are much more progressive with features and some are much slower. If things end up more progressive than they look right now, there may be minimal storm threat for Thursday night.

Night 2 Thunderstorm Outlook

Thunderstorm Outlook for Night 2 (00Z to 18Z June 08).

Taking into account the various speeds, the current area that might see storms on Thursday afternoon/evening looks to be the area bounded from the US border north to Brandon, up towards Dauphin/Swan River, then eastwards across the Interlake and southwards down the eastern Red River Valley. Storms will exit through the Central/Northern Whiteshell. While the potential for heavy rainfall exists, I do not feel enough confidence in it to justify any slight risk categorization on the outlook. The storms will likely be marginally severe, though, so it’s important that they are not ignored with the prospect of even bigger storms on the weekend.

Friday looks to be another warm day; debris cloud left behind from Thursday night’s convection should clear bout by lunch time or early afternoon which will allow the sunshine to warm us up to the mid-to-high 20’s. Dewpoints will build through the afternoon pushing up to 18 or 19°C, making it feel quite humid. The main upper trough is set to move in on the weekend, though, and what a system it looks to be.

SPC Day 4-8 Outlook

SPC Day 4-8 Severe Thunderstorm Outlook

I’m not going to talk too much about Saturday’s setup yet, as it’s still a ways out and in this particular setup, the exact specifics are sure to change with every model run until it’s much closer. We’ll be under the influence of two strong shortwaves that will push copious amounts of instability over Southern Manitoba. CAPE values look to exceed 2500 J/kg and potentially be as high as 5000-5500 J/kg; this, combined with a weak cap north of the warm front and favorable shear profiles looks to point at a potent setup for severe thunderstorms with high probabilities of (extremely) large hail, strong winds, and elevated risks of tornadoes. The setup is similar to other tornado-producing setups of years past, including the Pipestone tornado of 2007.

We’ll have plenty of discussion about the upcoming storm threats in the comments, so be sure to check back often for the latest information about this weekend’s potentially dangerous storm outbreak.

Showers and Thunderstorms on Tap for Southern Mantioba

While temperatures will soar to the 30°C mark today, much of the Red River Valley should be prepared for showers and thunderstorms to develop by mid-to-late afternoon as a low pressure system moves into the area and taps the available heat and moisture.

850mb Theta-E Values

850mb Theta-E values at 00Z May 19th (this evening) from the NAM. A sharp warm front is evident jsut north of the US border in Southern Manitoba.

With a strong capping inversion in place over the Red River Valley today, heat and moisture being pumped northwards will be trapped at the surface, allowing our temperature to soar to the 30°C mark and pooling moisture that will push our dewpoints up to around 15°C. Much of the day will be a beautiful day, especially given that it’s only May 18th. Conditions will deteriorate somewhat by late afternoon, though, as a surface low lifts northwards into Southern Manitoba.

The surface low will travel along a pre-existing surface trough and be supported by a shortwave ejecting northeastwards from the main upper trough, still anchored through Montana and Wyoming. With the heat trapped near the surface, the Lifted Index is expected to drop to the -2 to -8 values, with the lowest values running along a line from Gretna, MB to Bisset, MB and increasing to the southeast of that line. The heat combined with ample moisture is also expected to produce high CAPE values generally from 2000 to 3000J/kg. Increasing mid-level lapse rates with the approach of the shortwave will provide enough destabilization to erode the capping inversion through the afternoon and allow showers and thunderstorms to develop along and ahead of the warm front, initially concentrated near the triple point of the system. The showers and thunderstorms will expand in coverage as the evening progresses and the low-level jet intensifies.

Severe Weather Threat

Today marks one of the first severe weather threats of the season. Things look promising, and have even caught the attention of some seasoned storm chasers from the United States:

On paper, things look fairly good that there’s a risk for severe weather. EHI values rise to between 1.5-2.0 by late afternoon, which when combined with the presence of 30-35kt of bulk shear certainly presents the chance for supercell storms to develop. A few things hamper my excitement, though:

  • Bulk shear isn’t really all that impressive; the really good shear moves through Western Manitoba through the day today, lifting northwards into the Interlake. The shear diminishes to the SE and isn’t particularly strong where the greatest CAPE is. When it comes down to it, it’s likely that we’ll end up with marginally strong shear on top of marginally high CAPE this afternoon, with the most favorable conditions missing each other.
  • CAPE values may be too high. The NAM & GFS have been forecasting dewpoints slightly higher than have materialized. The amount of energy for storms to work with is going to be heavily dependant on the dewpoints that develop this afternoon, and if they don’t make it as high as forecast then we’ll be seeing weaker storms.
  • Too many storms. With so many marginally severe features, we may see quite a few showers and thunderstorms develop this afternoon as the cap erodes. If too many fire off, then it will be difficult for any one storm to oragnize itself into anything that poses a severe weather threat.

All that being said, a potential for severe weather does exist today across south-central and southeast Manitoba. The main threats should severe weather develop will be hail and/or the possibility of a tornado.

Thunderstorm Outlook for May 18th

Thunderstorm Outlook for May 18th to May 19th. Please note: Analysis has only been done for Manitoba. Storms may develop elsewhere in the Canadian Prairies.

Residents in Southern Manitoba should stay up-to-date on the weather today to ensure that if severe storms do develop, the appropriate precautions can be taken.