Snow on the Way For Winnipeg

Our stretch of beautiful early-November weather will come to an end this week as a low pressure system moves across Southern Manitoba bringing rain and snow and leaving behind more seasonal weather.

A sharp upper trough sitting over the Pacific coast has helped set up a southerly flow throughout most of the Eastern Prairies over the past few days, bringing with it unseasonably warm and dry weather to Winnipeg and the Red River Valley.

Over the past day, however, the trough has moved eastwards and is now situated over the Rocky Mountains. Warm, moist air has been surging northwards out of the trough for the past day or two, bringing plenty of precipitation to Saskatchewan. Currently, a surface low exists in Nebraska, with an inverted trough extending all the way up to the Swan River region. A cold front is sitting in this trough, with a warm front extending across the northern regions of the Manitoba Lakes. In this visible image, the fronts are shown by the cloud/clear sky boundary over Manitoba.

Visible Satellite Image for Prairies
Visible Satellite Image of Southern Prairies/Northern Plains for Tuesday Morning

This system has brought snow to western Saskatchewan, with some areas receiving more than 10cm of snow. The weather station at the Swift Current Airport reported 13cm of snow by 10AM today and a report of 10cm of snow was received from Stewart Valley, located just north of Swift Current. Further north and east of the Swift Current/Cypress Hills regions, most of the precipitation has thus far fallen as rain, however will switch over to snow by this evening. A few pockets of freezing rain have also shown up over east-central regions, close to the fronts.

This whole system will slowly progress eastwards today and tonight, but most of it’s movement will be northwards through the next 36 hours. By tomorrow evening, rain and snow will have moved into Southwestern Manitoba.

Precipitation Accumulations for Wednesday Night
Precipitation Accumulations from the GEM-REG for Wednesday Night; 5-10mm of Rain is expected for the RRV before switching over to Snow on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday night, cold air is injected into this system and it begins to intensify and move off. By Thursday morning, rain will have moved into the RRV, and should switch over to snow relatively early in the morning as the winds back around the the northwest. There may be a slight chance of a brief period of freezing rain as the changeover from rain to snow happens, however I would expect it to be rather unlikely.

Precipitation Accumulations from GEM-GLB for Thursday
Precipitation Accumulation from the GEM-GLB for Thursday.

The possibility exists for 2-5cm of snow in areas close to the International Border and 5-10cm for areas a bit further north, including Winnipeg, on Thursday. Environment Canada will likely issue some sort of notice on Wednesday as a heads up to the first significant snowfall of the season for the RRV.

This system will move out Thursday night at a much quicker pace than it moved into our area. Skies will clear by Friday and we will be left with daytime highs in the -1 to -3 range with light winds.

So get out and enjoy the weather today. Mostly sunny skies should persist through most of the day and the expected daytime high should be around 14 degrees with relatively light winds. Winnipeg has a shot at breaking the record high today; the current daytime high is 14.4 degrees, set in 1923.  Unofficially, Island Lake and Pinawa have both already broken their record highs for today.

So enjoy the warm weather, just don’t forget where you stored your heavier coats!