A Sunny Reprieve

After being inundated with disturbance after disturbance and many areas in the province seeing a fresh 10-20cm of snow, a ridge of high pressure is building into the region and will bring a benign break from the snow at the cost of slightly cooler temperatures.

-10°C / -22°C
Clearing early & breezy.

-9°C / ⇑ -7°C
Mainly sunny.

+1°C / -5°C ⇑
Partly cloudy.

Skies will clear early this morning as breezing northwesterly winds – at 30-40km/h – draw in cooler air to the Red River Valley. Here in Winnipeg we’ll see a high around -9°C. Temperatures will drop into the -20’s tonight as we sit under that ridge of high pressure mentioned above. Saturday will bring mainly sunny skies with a high near -8°C and winds around 15-20km/h shifting to be out of the southwest.

Saturday night will drop to only around -10°C early in the night and then warm up to around -7°C as warmer air starts pushing into Manitoba from the west. We’ll enjoy a warm day with cloudy periods on Sunday as temperatures climb above the freezing mark to +1°C. Temperatures will fall only around -5°C thanks to cloudy skies overnight.

Those cloudy skies Sunday night will be the result of low pressure system pushing across the Prairies. It will bring the potential for some shower or flurry activity to Winnipeg on Monday, however the bulk of precipitation looks to remain further north.

Overall, a nice weekend ahead! Get out there and enjoy it!

The Big Warm-Up Inches Closer

Southern Manitoba will finally see a reprieve from the icy grip of winter as a major pattern change will allow Pacific air to wash over the Prairies bringing substantially warmer – and more unsettled – weather.

-17°C / -20°C
Mainly cloudy. Chance of flurries this evening & overnight.

-14°C / -23°C
Mainly cloudy; chance of morning flurries.

-9°C / ⇒ -9°C
Strong winds with blowing snow. Chance of snow late day.

A Couple Cool Days

There will be a chance to dig out after Wednesday night’s storm dumped around 10-15cm through most areas in Southern Manitoba as cool, fairly benign weather settles in over the Red River Valley for the next couple days. Mainly cloudy skies will persist through much of the day today as we climb to a high of only around -17°C.

As shown by the RDPS imagery above, flurries are possible tonight (light blue) over much of Southern Manitoba.
As shown by the RDPS imagery above, flurries are possible tonight (light blue) over much of Southern Manitoba.

A weak disturbance will push through tonight that will push some light snow through the Interlake, but further south in Winnipeg & the Red River Valley there will be just a chance for some flurry activity. The relative weakness of the disturbance combined with quite cool temperatures will ensure that if anything manages to develop it will be quite light and not really accumulate to much at all. We’ll remain cloudy through the night and drop to a low around -20°C.

Saturday will be a fairly quiet day with any possible flurry activity tapering off in the morning and then seeing clouds slowly try to break up through the day. Some clearing should work it’s way in later in the day, but it’s a little uncertain how clear we’ll get. While it will have little bearing on any significant weather, it will dramatically affect our overnight low. If we remain a little cloudier – which I’m thinking is the more likely outcome – we’ll see an overnight low of around -23 or -24°C. If the clouds manage to clear out, even for a couple hours, we’ll get quite a bit colder than that and possibly see another low dipping below -30°C. That marks the last day of cold, though, as a major pattern change begins on Sunday.

Wind and Blowing Snow Usher in Warmer Weather

Sunday will mark the beginning of a major pattern shift that will see the persistent trough that’s been anchored over Northwestern Ontario break down and push off to the east, allowing our upper-level northwesterly flow to be replaced by westerly flow. That sounds like a small shift, but the impact will be dramatic.

Sunday will see increasing cloud through the day as milder air finally pushes in from the west. By evening our temperature will rise to around -10°C and snow will be pushing into Southwestern Manitoba. There will likely be at least some flurry activity, if not some light snow on Sunday night as a warm front pushes across the Red River Valley, but accumulations – at this point – look minimal.

The forecast sounding for Winnipeg on Sunday evening shows very strong low-level winds.
The forecast sounding for Winnipeg on Sunday evening shows very strong low-level winds.

Perhaps the biggest weather impact on Sunday will be the southerly winds that will develop through the Red River Valley ahead of the warm front. A tight pressure gradient will result in strong winds developing fairly early in the day. We’ll likely see winds climb to around 50km/h sustained which will undoubtedly produce localized white-out/blizzard conditions in the Red River Valley. It’s too early to say exactly how bad it’s going to be, but it seems fairly certain that blowing snow is going to be a big issue for anyone planning to travel on Sunday, especially in the evening hours when the strong winds may combine with falling snow.

After we make it through the cold weather’s last stand, a significantly warmer – and more unsettled – week is ahead of us as the westerly flow aloft establishes itself over the Prairies. Daytime highs next week look to sit around -4°C, plus or minus a few degrees, but with the warmer weather will come multiple chances for snow as a train of disturbances set up and track across the Prairies. At this point, however, I’ll gladly take more snow if it means a break from the relentless cold we’ve seen in Winnipeg this winter.

Week Heading to a Warm End, But Can it Last?

The latest shot of Arctic air is set to be ushered out thanks to an extremely powerful storm north of 60 that will flood the Prairies with mild Pacific air and push our temperatures well above normal by week’s end. The big questions is: will it stick around?

⇓ -27°C / -32°C
Mainly sunny, windy and cold.

-10°C / ⇑ -7°C
Increasing cloud with a chance of flurries overnight. Warming.

-2°C / -17°C
Cloudy and warm. Chance of flurries.

Bitter Cold in Mid-Week Slump

We’ll see bitterly cold temperatures before our big warm-up as yet another very strong Arctic ridge slumps through the province. We’ll see fairly strong winds at around 30km/h gusting to 50km/h out of the northwest this morning and little-to-no recovery from our overnight low today as temperatures struggle to climb before falling to about -27°C this afternoon thanks to the cold air mass that’s pushing in. Blowing snow may remain an issue through the morning hours until the wind begins to taper off. Some cloud cover will linger in the region, but overall it should be a mainly sunny day as it often is when we have these very cold air masses incoming.

Temperatures will drop off to around -32°C or so tonight under clear skies with fairly light winds. Wind chill values will dip to the -37 to -40 range, but it doesn’t look like the criteria for a wind chill warning[1] will be met so I don’t expect any warnings to be issued for Winnipeg.

This forecast tephigram from the NAM shows the sharp low-level inversion in place late Thursday that will likely help produce strong winds.
This forecast tephigram from the NAM shows the sharp low-level inversion in place late Thursday that will likely help produce strong winds.

Thursday will be our transition day, much like (but not quite as strong as) last Wednesday[2], with temperatures warming to around -10°C by day’s end. With such warm air relative to the very cold air that will be entrenched in the valley, a strong inversion will develop which will aid in producing fairly strong winds. They will strengthen as we begin to warm up in the late morning into the afternoon to around 40-50km/h out of the south/southwest. The wind will conspire to make it feel quite a bit cooler than our advertised high would imply, and we may also see localized blowing snow through the valley which could make travel on some roads a little more difficult. A widespread blowing snow event is not expected.

Clouds will roll in through the afternoon as we begin to fall into the influence of the massive storm rolling through the Arctic. There will be a chance of some flurries overnight as our temperature continues to rise to around -7°C although most of the snow activity should stay to our east.

Mild Friday To End Week

Friday will start off on a great foot with temperatures quickly climbing towards -2°C with mixed skies and southwesterly winds at around 30km/h. A weak cold front will push through the Red River Valley midday which will cool off our temperatures slightly, but the bigger impact will the the potential for some snow as the front passes through and then stronger northerly winds in behind it strengthening possibly up to 40km/h with gusts to 50-60km/h. This strong northerly wind will tap into cooler air to our north and dip our temperature from our daytime high of -2°C to around -8 or -9°C by the early evening.

Friday night will bring clear skies as we dip towards -17°C for our overnight low.

Uncertain Weekend Ahead

This 850mb temperature forecast from the GDPS clearly shows the strong baroclinic zone bisecting the Prairies (highlighted).
This 850mb temperature forecast from the GDPS clearly shows the strong baroclinic zone bisecting the Prairies (highlighted).

The weekend is a bit of a wildcard at this point…for the most part. The one thing that’s certain is that we’ll plunge back into the deep freeze by the end of it. After Friday’s cold front, there will be a lull in the progress of the Arctic air as the entire atmosphere pivots with the next shot of cold air pushing in from the high Arctic. As the atmosphere takes this pause, a strong baroclinic zone[3] will develop and align NW/SE through the Prairies. There will be light snow along most of the baroclinic zone as it ripples back and forth with weak impulses, but it’s futile to attempt to pin down exactly where it will lie; models tend to have a lot of difficulty in correctly placing these features.

It does seem like the feature will set up further to our west than the last one and we’ll likely remain east of any snowfall. A disturbance will ripple down the baroclinic zone on Sunday which may bring us some light snow and will usher in the bitterly cold air in behind it.

  1. a. Wind chill values of -40 or lower.
    b. Winds greater or equal to 15km/h.
    c. Conditions (a) and (b) both being concurrently met for 3 consecutive hours or longer.  ↩
  2. …where the temperature rose from -27.1°C in the morning to 3.3°C in the afternoon; a whopping 27.4°C (January 15, 2014).  ↩
  3. A region of strong temperature gradients.  ↩

The Deep Freeze Loosens Its Grip

After suffering through the 6th coldest December on record and a January that has seen all but one night drop below –30°C, a reprieve from winter’s icy grip is on the horizon as the upper air pattern finally shifts and allows some warmer air to spill eastwards into Manitoba.


-23°C / ↗ -16°C
Mainly sunny. Light snow with strong winds overnight.

-8°C / -10°C
Light snow and strong winds tapering off in the morning then cloudy.

-3°C / -9°C
Mixed skies with chance of flurries in the evening.


Today will be the last sub-minus 20 day we’ll see this week! Our temperature will climb from our overnight low around –32°C up to around –23°C this afternoon under mainly sunny skies. We’ll see increasing cloud late in the afternoon or through the early evening as a warm front approaches from Saskatchewan. Temperatures will continue to rise overnight as the warmer air pushes into the province; we should rise to around –15°C by tomorrow morning.

In addition to the warmer air, we’ll also likely see some light snow move in with the cloud. The light snow will start overnight and taper off through Thursday morning. Amounts will be fairly minimal; here in Winnipeg we might see as much as a whopping 1–2cm while the southern Red River Valley will likely just see a few flurries with no significant accumulation.

Models are forecasting a very strong inversion over Winnipeg on Thursday morning; the large temperature contrast will produce very strong southerly winds.
Models are forecasting a very strong inversion over Winnipeg on Thursday morning; the large temperature contrast will produce very strong southerly winds.

The other significant weather tonight will be the increasing southerly winds. As the warm front approaches from the west, very warm air aloft will push into the Red River Valley. Temperatures at 850mb are expected to rise from around –15°C on Wednesday evening to close to 0°C by Thursday morning. With dense, cold Arctic air still in the Red River Valley, this strong temperature inversion will induce stronger winds than just the pressure gradient would imply. It’s difficult to pin down, but I think that we’ll see the winds pick up through Wednesday evening to 40–50km/h by Thursday morning with gusts as high as 60–70km/h. If things are able to completely decouple or the Arctic air is miraculously expedited out of the Valley very quickly, then we might see the winds remain calmer, somewhere between 20–30km/h; I don’t think this is particularly likely, though.

Thursday & Friday

We’ll see light snow slowly taper off on Thursday morning and then mainly cloudy skies thereafter. The winds will taper off through the morning to around 15–20km/h and remain there for the remainder of the day. Skies will remain mainly cloudy and we’ll see our temperature climb to a comparatively balmy (and warmer than normal) –8°C. Clouds will scatter out a bit on Thursday evening leaving us with partly cloudy skies and a low near –10°C.

More warm air pushes into the region on Friday as a low pressure system tracking through Central Manitoba drags another shot of warm air eastwards. Our temperature should climb to around –4 or –3°C under increasingly cloudy skies. Winds will be fairly light as well which will make it quite a pleasant day. Some light flurry activity is possible Friday evening and overnight into Saturday as we drop to a low near –10°C once again.

The Weekend

More warm weather is ahead for the weekend with daytime highs near –5°C on Saturday and possibly breaking 0°C on Sunday as a low pressure system winds up over the region, bringing potentially an inch or two of snow and a slight risk of some freezing rain. Mild temperatures continue into next week, so enjoy a nice break from the cold!