Colorado Low Poised to Bring Fresh Snow to Manitoba as Warm Weather Continues

Cloudy skies, mist/fog, drizzle, and mild temperatures will continue for a couple more days in the Winnipeg area. The weather will finally change across southern Manitoba on Wednesday night as a Colorado Low begins to spread waves of precipitation into the province.

ECMWF Precipitation Type Forecast valid 18Z Thursday February 8, 2024.ECMWF Total Accumulated Snowfall Forecast (10:1 SLR) valid 00Z Saturday February 10, 2024.
Waves of mixed precipitation will move into southern Manitoba on Thursday. This Colorado Low will bring accumulating snow to most of southern Manitoba.

The next couple days in Winnipeg will bring more of what the city has seen lately: plenty of cloud, mist and fog patches, and occasional drizzle. A ridge of high pressure moving across the Red River Valley will keep things stagnant with light northerly winds. The trend of temperatures well above normal will continue with highs a couple degrees above freezing and lows right near the freezing point.

Then, the most notable weather system in weeks will begin to impact the region on Wednesday night. As I mentioned in Thursday’s post, long-range models were developing a Colorado Low-like system and pushing it quickly eastwards. I mentioned that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this system pull further west as it approached and…that’s what has happened with the forecast models over the past few days.

A Colorado Low will eject northeastwards on Wednesday, reaching South Dakota by Thursday morning and then into Minnesota by Thursday evening. As it draws closer to Manitoba, it will begin to spread waves of precipitation into the province. The first couple waves, arriving Wednesday night and Thursday morning could bring a wintery mix of snow, rain, and freezing rain to the Red River Valley. As those move off to the northwest, the region will see a break with cloudy skies and a chance of drizzle.

By later Thursday, northerly winds will strengthen across the region and begin to draw cooler air into the region. More snow will be possible Thursday evening through much of Friday before it finally tapers off.

There is a wide range of snowfall accumulations possible with this system, and at this point there is significant uncertainty as to where the axis of heaviest snow will set up in the province. In general, many areas of the province will receive 5 to 10 cm of fresh snow, with 10 to 20 cm possible in the swath of highest accumulation. Amounts could creep even higher on the northern slopes of the Turtle and Riding Mountains where northerly winds enhance the snowfall along the terrain.

With the notable uncertainty that remains with how this system will set up over the province, I recommend you check the updated forecasts on ECCC’s weather website over the coming days.

Daytime highs in Winnipeg will fall into the -5 to 0 °C range by the end of the week with overnight lows in the -20 to -10 °C range depending on how much clearing is able to move into the region.

Long Range Outlook

The weekend will bring cooler — but still above normal — temperatures to the region. Daytime highs will dip to around -5 °C with lows dependent on how cloudy the nights stay. With clearing, lows could drop into the -20 to -15 °C range, but if it stays cloudier then lows could hover near -10 °C.

Hopefully the region will see a bit of sun this weekend, but there’s a chance things do stay on the cloudier side.

Next week will continue the trend with daytime highs near -5 °C and overnight lows in the -10 to -20 °C range as light westerly winds develop over the region.

Today’s seasonal daytime high in Winnipeg is -10 °C while the seasonal overnight low is -21 °C.

Warming up This Week in Winnipeg

It will be a cloudy week in Winnipeg as temperatures climb back towards the freezing mark.

RDPS 2m Temperature Forecast valid 21Z Wednesday January 24, 2024
Warmer temperatures will spread across the southern Prairies this week.

With the Polar Vortex retreating into the High Arctic, a zonal flow will develop across the Prairies this week. Mild Pacific air will spread across the region, sending daytime highs climbing back to near- or above-freezing values. Like many warm pushes deep in winter, this warmer weather will be accompanied by plenty of cloud cover.

Today will be the transition day towards the warmer conditions in the Red River Valley. Southerly winds will strengthen through the day as a ridge of high pressure shifts to the east. By the evening, temperatures will climb to around -5 °C with winds up to 30 gusting 50 km/h. There may be areas of blowing snow in the open valley, but warmer temperatures and lighter winds than Saturday should make it less of a hazard compared to what the region saw on Saturday.

Skies will stay cloudy with a chance of light snow or freezing drizzle tonight with temperatures hovering around -5 °C and southerly winds continuing. The risk of freezing drizzle could continue into the morning.

On Wednesday, conditions will stay steady until a trough moves into the region midday. Winds will ease as it moves in and temperatures will warm close to the freezing mark in the afternoon. Temperatures will dip back down to around -5 °C on Wednesday night with a chance of light snow.

The tail end of the work week will offer benign weather: mainly cloudy skies, daytime highs near -2 °C, and overnight lows near -5 °C on Thursday night and near -10 °C on Friday night. No notable precipitation look likely for either day.

Long Range Outlook

Heading into the weekend, the mild conditions will continue with highs in the -5 to 0 °C range and light southerly winds. The clouds may break up more, though, allowing glimpses of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday.

Heading into next week, the mild weather will continue with a chance that daytime highs could climb above freezing. As a bonus, it looks like more sunshine is possible than the region will see this week.

Forecasts show no notable snowfall events through next week.

Today’s seasonal daytime high in Winnipeg is -13 °C while the seasonal overnight low is -23 °C.

Cold Weather Lasts Through the Week

It will be a cold week in Winnipeg with below-seasonal temperatures and variable cloudiness.

RDPS 2m Temperature Forecast valid 12Z Thursday January 18, 2024
Although the Polar Vortex will move off to the east, cold air will linger across the Prairies through the week. In an unusual twist, it will briefly warm up in northern Manitoba as Atlantic air wraps westwards over the eastern Arctic and into the region.

The Polar Vortex will sit over eastern Canada this week with a cold trough hanging westwards across the Prairies. As a result, much of the region will see below-seasonal temperatures; fortunately, the ruthless cold that was entrenched over the western Prairies will moderate away from those extreme values.

In Winnipeg, the city will see more light snow today with skies on the cloudier side through Wednesday. Daytime highs will climb into the -15 to -20 °C range with west-northwest winds of 20 to 30 km/h. The snow won’t accumulate too much; the city may see a few centimetres accumulation over the next several days.

Overnight lows will mainly sit in the -25 to -20 °C range. Winnipeg and area will likely see more sunshine in the second half of the week.

Long Range Outlook

Heading into the weekend, the Polar Vortex is forecast to finally shift eastwards out to the Atlantic, weakening the cold air over the Prairies and allowing a more progressive pattern to develop. Upper ridging will build into the Prairies over the weekend, spreading milder air into the western Prairies.

This will help bring temperatures back to seasonal values through the weekend, although will likely bring cloudy skies back to the region.

Next week, skies will continue on the cloudier side, but temperatures will climb to above-seasonal values. Daytime highs will climb back towards the -5 °C mark with lows close to -10 °C.

Today’s seasonal daytime high in Winnipeg is -13 °C while the seasonal overnight low is -24 °C.


More Snow on the Way, Then the Bitter Cold Arrives

Another disturbance moving through Manitoba mid-week will bring another swath of accumulating snow to the region. Behind it, bitterly cold Arctic air will sweep into southern Manitoba.

ECMWF Total Snowfall Forecast valid 12Z Tuesday January 9 to 00Z Friday January 12, 2024
Many areas will see 10 to 20 cm of snow by the time it tapers off on Friday. The snow will likely be fluffier than this model image depicts and amounts could end up slightly higher than depicted here.

For today, a weak ridge of high pressure moving through the region will bring near-seasonal highs in the mid-minus teens to the Winnipeg area. Light southerly winds will pick up to around 20 km/h in the afternoon, bringing wind chill values of -20 to -30 to the region.

The next weather system of note will begin to push into the region tonight. Cloud cover will spread across southern Manitoba as it pushes a warmer air mass into the region. Light snow will spread across southwest Manitoba overnight and begin to push into the Red River Valley early Wednesday morning. Temperatures will dip into the -15 to -20 °C range in the evening and then warm up closer to -10 °C by Wednesday morning.

2 to 5 cm of new snow is likely through much of western Manitoba tonight.

On Wednesday, the low pressure system will drop to the southeast with an inverted trough that lingers to the northwest in its wake. This will support a slow-moving area of light snow that lingers over the Red River Valley through Wednesday and into Thursday. Accumulation rates will be light, but because the snow will linger for a long time, it will result in one of the larger snowfalls of the season.

From Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, 5 to 10 cm of new snow is likely in the Red River Valley, but that number increases into the 10 to 20 cm range to the northwest in parts of Western Manitoba, focused around the escarpment west of Lake Manitoba and Winnipegosis.

Temperatures will reach a high near -7 °C in Winnipeg on Wednesday, but a cold front will sweep through on Thursday night and mark the beginning of plummeting temperatures.

The snow will taper off later Thursday as northwest winds increase into the 20 to 30 km/h range. Temperatures will fall through the day, reaching close to -20 °C by evening. The cloud cover will begin to break up overnight as temperatures head to a low in the -20 to -25 °C range.

On Friday, the cold air will settle into the region as a large Arctic High begins to push across the Prairies. Winnipeg’s temperatures will climb back into the -20 to -15 °C range with northerly winds hovering around 20 km/h. Skies will likely be on the cloudier side as a glancing disturbance spreads more cloud cover across the southern Prairies.

That cloud will prevent temperatures from dropping too much on Friday night with lows back to around -25 °C.

Long Range Outlook

The Arctic High will continue to slump eastwards across the Prairies this weekend, eventually clearing skies. Temperatures will plummet into the -20s this weekend with a chance of overnight lows dipping to around the -30 °C mark.

The region could end up contending with wind chills below -35 on the weekend.

A push of warmer temperatures will move through the Prairies early next week, but guidance suggests that it will occlude southwards well before it reaches Manitoba. A small moderation in temperatures is possible early in the week, followed by another push of colder temperatures.

Little accumulating snow is in the forecast for next week, but flurries will be possible across several days.

Today’s seasonal daytime high in Winnipeg is -13 °C while the seasonal overnight low is -24 °C.