Winnipeg Recording A Mild Start To 2017

While 2017 has had a few cold snaps in Winnipeg, by and large temperatures have remained well above normal. This graph shows the daily temperature departure from normal, where red areas are warmer than normal days and blue areas are colder than normal days. The cold snaps have not only been few and far between, but also fairly short.

Of note is how the temperatures have spent very little time at “near-normal” values. Instead, Winnipeg has generally been seeing swings from up to 15-20°C above normal down to 5-10°C below normal. As of writing1, Winnipeg is sitting with a year-to-date temperature departure (black line) of +4.1°C.

The greatest above normal day occurred on January 21st when a daily high of +2.0°C and daily low of +0.9°C combined for a mean temperature of +1.5°C, a whopping 19.4°C above normal for that date.2

The greatest below normal day occurred on March 10th when a daily high of -16.9°C and daily low of -23.4°C combined for a mean temperature of -20.2°C, 12.2°C below normal for that date.3

The next “blue area” is on the way beginning this weekend, as a large pattern shift brings cooler air into the region.

The GDPS is showing an air mass with below-normal temperatures in place over the Prairies early next week.

The result will be a prolonged period of cooler temperatures, likely lasting until the end of the coming week at the least.

Time will tell how the rest of the year pans out; while it may be tempting to look towards seasonal forecasts for a hint of what’s to come, they have a habit of being wrong, so it’s best to temper expectations from them. That said, Winnipeg has been seeing a lot of above-normal temperatures over the past 18 months, so the trend would suggest that we continue to be mild in the bigger picture.

  1. As in the byline, it’s currently April 19th.

  2. The normal high for January 21 is -12.9°C and the normal low is -22.9°C.

  3. The normal high for March 10 is -3.2°C and the normal low is -12.8°C.

ECCC Issues 2016 Summer Severe Weather Summary

Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued, for the first time in recent memory, an annual summary of summer severe weather statistics for the Canadian Prairies. With 2016 on record as particularly active year, it’s helpful to receive official numbers from Canada’s official source for weather information.

ECCC defines what exactly a severe thunderstorm event is in their bulletin and what numbers they’re using for averages:

This summary provides the severe weather report numbers for the 2016
summer severe weather season on the Canadian Prairies (Alberta,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba), focusing specifically on severe weather
caused by thunderstorms between April and September. This summary
also compares the 2016 season with the 30 year average (for
tornadoes the 1980-2009 average is used).

A severe thunderstorm event is the occurrence of one or more of:
large hail (two centimetres or larger in diameter), heavy rain (50
mm or more within one hour, strong winds (gusts of 90 km/h or
greater, which could cause structural wind damage) or a tornado.

Summer Severe Weather Events

This year had a total of of 595 summer severe weather reports across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, a 139% increase over the 30-year average of 249 reports. The largest increase occurred in hail events, where a total of 368 events marked nearly a 2x increase over the 30-year average of 129 events. Notably, Manitoba ended up with the highest number of reports, given that Alberta typically receives more hail than areas further east.1 Manitoba ended up taking top spot in all severe weather categories, which will come to no surprise to those who remember the relentless nature of this summer’s thunderstorm activity.

2016 Severe Weather Event Breakdown

Event Type201630-Year Average% Change
2016 and 30-year normal severe thunderstorm event numbers for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Across all 3 provinces, numbers were up for every single category. Wind reports were above normal as well, which is expected with a significant increase in hail reports; the same features that help thunderstorms produce large hail also often lead to the capability of severe wind gusts. It was also a very wet year across the Prairies with a 67% increase in severe rain reports; of note it was a very wet summer across the Prairies with the wettest areas (compared to normal) being the Southern Red River Valley, southwestern Saskatchewan into southeastern Alberta, and northwestern Alberta. Of note in Manitoba was Letellier, which after taking a beating from what seemed like every single thunderstorm that formed in the Red River Valley ended up with a whopping 752 mm of rain this summer.

2016 Manitoba Severe Weather Event Breakdown

Event Type201630-Year Average% Change
2016 and 30-year normal severe thunderstorm event numbers for Manitoba.

While tornado numbers were within 10% of normal across the Prairies, Manitoba had significantly more than typical with a 80% increase over the 30-year normal in 2016. Several of these events were also high-profile events, with tornadoes in Waywayseecapo and Long Plain First Nation causing extensive damage and displacing many people, alongside several other damaging tornadoes events including significant damage in the Glenboro region. Another tornado narrowly missed Morden, however the town was slammed by severe winds in the rear-flank downdraft which caused widespread tree damage throughout the town. Hail reports stand out exceptionally in Manitoba, with nearly a 350% increase over the 30-year average. Overall, all severe weather parameters were well above normal this year in Manitoba thanks to an exceptionally active summer.

2016 Saskatchewan Severe Weather Event Breakdown

Event Type201630-Year Average% Change
2016 and 30-year normal severe thunderstorm event numbers for Saskatchewan.

By comparison, Saskatchewan had a relatively quiet summer. While it was very wet in the southwest, the number of severe events was about on par. There were some notable ones, such as the Estevan flood which saw 137 mm of rain fall in must a few hours, but all was more or less on par. Perhaps the biggest news story from Saskatchewan in 2016 was the abundance of cold-core funnel clouds, which highlighted that there are educational opportunities within the public and media sectors with respect to the spectrum of “skinny things in the sky” and what sort of attitude and precautions are appropriate in specific situations.

2016 Alberta Severe Weather Event Breakdown

Event Type201630-Year Average% Change
2016 and 30-year normal severe thunderstorm event numbers for Alberta.

Alberta saw a significant increase in hail and wind events, but the rest remained close to on-par for the 30-year average. I can’t speak to their numbers too much as I was keeping plenty busy with the weather here in Manitoba!

Summer Severe Weather Bulletins

ECCC also supplied the number of bulletins they issued across the Prairie region this summer.

2016 Summer Severe Weather Bulletin Breakdown

Type201630-Year Average% Change
2016 and 30-year normal severe thunderstorm bulletin numbers for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The important part to note here is that the warnings are issued for smaller regions than watches. This means that there will be more warnings any given year than there are watches, not that a lot of places without severe thunderstorm watches received warnings. With numbers significantly higher than event reports (as is typical), percentages here will be much smaller than seen above, but represent significant change.

As expected, the number of watches and warnings were higher than average this year. Perhaps the most notable thing is how large those numbers are. It seems summer keeps the folks at ECCC busy!

ECCC’s Bulletin

Below is the entirety of the bulletin issued by ECCC. As it was issued as a weather summary, it won’t remain on ECCC’s site past the day of issue.

Weather summary
for Manitoba
issued by Environment Canada
at 7:39 a.m. CST Wednesday 28 December 2016.


2016 Prairie Summer Severe Weather Season Summary 

This summary provides the severe weather report numbers for the 2016 
summer severe weather season on the Canadian Prairies (Alberta, 
Saskatchewan and Manitoba), focusing specifically on severe weather 
caused by thunderstorms between April and September. This summary 
also compares the 2016 season with the 30 year average (for 
tornadoes the 1980-2009 average is used). 

A severe thunderstorm event is the occurrence of one or more of: 
large hail (two centimetres or larger in diameter), heavy rain (50 
mm or more within one hour, strong winds (gusts of 90 km/h or 
greater, which could cause structural wind damage) or a tornado. 

Thunderstorms are the most frequent weather threat to life and 
property on the Canadian Prairies. The 2016 summer severe weather 
season was very active, and was longer than average. In 2016, there 
were 595 reported severe weather events from thunderstorms on the 
Prairies. There were 46 reported tornadoes, 368 severe hail reports, 
108 reports of severe winds and 40 reports of severe rainfall. Of 
the 46 reported tornadoes, 15 had associated damage. 

Summary of severe weather types for all 3 Prairie Provinces, by 
number of reports: 

2016: 368 
30 year average: 129 

2016: 108 
30 year average: 53 

2016: 40 
30 year average: 24 

2016: 46 
1980-2009 average: 43 

All types 
2016: 595 
30 year average: 249 

Summary of severe weather types for Alberta, by number of reports: 

2016: 144 
30 year average: 50 

2016: 34 
30 year average: 18 

2016: 11 
30 year average: 9 

2016: 14 
1980-2009 average: 15 

Summary of severe weather types for Saskatchewan, by number of 

2016: 77 
30 year average: 46 

2016: 19 
30 year average: 21 

2016: 9 
30 year average: 7 

2016: 14 
1980-2009 average: 18 

Summary of severe weather types for Manitoba, by number of reports: 

2016: 147 
30 year average: 33 

2016: 55 
30 year average: 14 

2016: 20 
30 year average: 8 

2016: 18 
1980-2009 average: 10 

The Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Centre is responsible for 
thunderstorm watches and warnings for the three Prairie Provinces, 
as well as Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. These duties are 
shared between two offices, located in Edmonton and Winnipeg. The 
PASPC Edmonton and Winnipeg offices issued 3685 thunderstorm or 
tornado warnings and 1193 thunderstorm or tornado watches for the 
Prairies during the 2016 severe weather season. This was above the 
average (2005 to present) of 3036 warnings issued and 1067 watches 

Summary of alert bulletins for all 3 Prairie Provinces, by number 

2016 Warnings: 3685 
30 year average: 3036 

2016 Watches: 1193 
30 year average: 1067 

2016 total alert bulletins: 4878 
30 year average: 4103 

This summary contains all reports provided to the Prairie and Arctic 
Storm Prediction Centre as of December 2016. These data may be 
updated if new information surfaces. Unless otherwise noted, the 30 
year average is for the period from 1986 to 2015.

Please note that this summary may contain preliminary or unofficial 
information and does not constitute a complete or final report.


For more information on this summer’s severe weather & variation from climatological normals in Manitoba, check out our State of the Climate – A Stormy Summer 2016 post.

  1. This is because Alberta is physically higher up than Saskatchewan or Manitoba, which when combined with the typically cooler temperatures aloft coming off of the Rockies, leads to significantly less distance for the hail to travel before reaching the ground. In Manitoba, the melting level is typically quite high off the ground, so hail has to travel through a greater depth of warmer air, resulting in a greater frequency of really big raindrops.

November 2016 Shatters Multiple Records; Warmest Since 1872

Winnipeg just experienced one of the most extreme months ever seen since records began in 1872.

With every single day posting above-normal temperatures and an average mean temperature of 3.1°C, it was the warmest November on record. In fact, much of Manitoba recorded its warmest November this year. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Brandon, Emerson, Portage, Sprague, Flin Flon, Thompson, The Pas and Swan River all had their warmest November on record. The month was marked by both a lack of cold and frequent bouts of record warmth.

Every single day was warmer than normal in Winnipeg, a streak that began in late October. Up to December 7th, we have now had 48 consecutive days of above normal temperatures.

Warmest November on Record: The Numbers

Daily High (°C)
Daily Mean (°C)
Daily Low (°C)
17.2 (2016)3.1 (2016)-1.1 (2016)
27.1 (2009)1.3 (1899)-3.2 (1923)
36.4 (1999)1.3 (1923)-3.3 (1899)
45.8 (1899)1.0 (1981)-3.3 (1922)
55.8 (1923)0.9 (2001)-3.5 (1981)
65.7 (2001)0.8 (2009)-3.6 (1917)
75.5 (1981)0.6 (1999)-3.7 (1953)
85.3 (1939)0.5 (1917)-3.9 (2001)
95.2 (1904)0.2 (1922)-4.3 (1918)
104.6 (1917)0.1 (1953)-4.3 (1944)

The average mean temperature of 3.1°C in Winnipeg in November was an impressive 7.7°C above the 1981-2010 normal of -4.6°C. It also broke the old record by a margin of 1.8°C! The old record being 1.3°C in 1899 and 1923. It is quite significant to break a monthly record by this significant a margin. To give a perspective, March 2012 had only exceeded the previous warmest March by 0.6°C and September 2009 exceeded the previous warmest September by 0.9°C. The last time we broke a monthly record by this kind of margin was in January 2006 when we exceeded the previous warmest January by 3.2°C! The following graph of November mean temperature per year since 1872 shows how much this year was an outlier!

Brandon also had it warmest November on record with an average mean temperature of 2.0°C, breaking the old record of 0.7°C in 1917 and 1953. This gave a record margin of 1.3°C, again the greatest since January 2006. It was also 7.6°C above the 1981-2010 normal of -5.6°C.

Temperatures were especially warm early month with highs regularly in the double digits. Winnipeg exceeded 10°C on 10 occasions, tied with 1981 and 2009 for second most on record in November. Record was 11 days above 10°C in 1904. The monthly maximum was 18.8°C on the 9th, smashing the old record of 14.4°C in 1923 and 1930. It was also the latest date on record to reach or exceed 18°C since 1872. In total, two record highs, three record high minimums and one tied record high occurred in November, and they are listed below.

DateRecord TypeNew RecordOld Record
Nov. 6High Maximum16.7°C16.7 (Tied 1975)
Nov. 6High Minimum7.4°C5.6°C (1906 / 1922)
Nov. 9High Maximum18.8°C14.4°C (1923)
Nov. 9High Minimum4.8°C2.8°C (1969)
Nov. 12High Maximum13.6°C13.2°C (1981)
Nov. 24High Minimum0.1°C0.0°C (1988)

Many locations across southern Manitoba reached 20°C during the warm spell and many more than once. In fact, Baldur, Ste. Rose, McCreary, Portage la Prairie, Deerwood and Boissevain all saw three days exceed 20°C. The maximum recorded temperature was 22.7°C in Ethelbert and Alonsa. 20°C highs occurred in southern Manitoba November 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th. The latest known occurrence of 20°C in Manitoba was on November 17, 2001 when Morden reached 21.0°C.

In general, November simply featured a distinct lack of cold conditions. This helped Winnipeg break the following records:

  • Only 5 days dipped below -5°C, breaking the old record of 7 days in 1899.
  • Only one day dipped below -10°C, tied with 1912, 1923, 1981 and 2001 for the least on record.
  • Only 18 days dipped below freezing, breaking the old record of 20 days set in 2015. Normal is 28 days.
  • 28 days exceeded the freezing mark, tied with 2009 for 2nd most. Most was 29 days in 1899.
  • 4 days exceeded 15°C, tied with 1903 and 1981 for most on record.

2nd Warmest Fall on Record

With an average mean temperature of 8.0°C, it was the 2nd warmest fall on record in Winnipeg. The warmest was in 1963 when we averaged 8.6°C (1963 had featured the warmest October on record).

RankDaily High (°C)Daily Mean (°C)Daily Low (°C)
115.0 (1963)8.6 (1963)3.3 (2016)
213.2 (1923)8.0 (2016)2.9 (1931)
313.0 (1948)7.9 (1931)2.3 (1953)
412.8 (1931)7.5 (1923)2.3 (1963)
512.8 (2009)7.3 (1953)2.0 (1922)
612.8 (2016)7.3 (2009)2.0 (2015)
712.6 (1920)7.3 (2015)1.9 (1923)
812.6 (2011)7.2 (1948)1.7 (1914)
912.6 (2015)7.1 (1914)1.7 (2009)
1012.4 (1914)7.1 (1920)1.5 (1920)
1112.2 (1953)7.0 (1922)1.5 (1944)
1212.1 (1994)6.8 (1994)1.5 (1994)
1312.1 (2001)6.8 (2011)1.4 (1908)
1412.0 (1906)6.6 (2004)1.4 (1948)
1512.0 (1938)6.5 (1940)1.3 (1940)
1611.9 (1899)6.3 (1908)1.3 (1954)
1711.9 (1922)6.3 (1962)1.2 (1934)
1811.9 (2004)6.3 (2001)1.2 (1981)
1911.7 (1940)6.2 (1899)1.2 (2004)
2011.5 (1962)6.2 (1981)1.1 (1912)
2111.5 (2005)6.1 (1906)1.0 (1962)
2211.3 (1908)6.1 (2005)1.0 (2011)
2311.3 (1909)5.9 (1944)0.9 (1968)
2411.3 (1990)5.9 (1998)0.8 (1983)
2511.3 (1998)5.8 (1904)0.7 (1949)
2611.3 (1999)5.7 (1938)0.7 (2005)
2711.2 (1952)5.7 (1954)0.6 (1956)
2811.2 (1981)5.7 (1968)0.6 (1960)
2911.2 (1987)5.6 (1912)0.5 (1904)
3011.1 (1897)5.6 (1943)0.5 (1928)

We reached 2nd warmest mainly due to the warmest November on record. However, September was also warm with an average of 14.4°C, tied with 2005 for 19th warmest September. October was also above normal with an average mean temperature of 6.6°C, 1.5°C above normal.

Record Humidity

Average dewpoint temperatures were also at a record high this November and fall. In fact, they were shockingly anomalous in November. Dewpoint temperatures averaged 0.3°C in November in Winnipeg, obliterating the previous record of -2.9°C set last year. It’s one thing to break a monthly record two years in a row, but to break the previous year’s record by 3.2°C is just another story!

RankHighest Average Dewpoint (°C)Lowest Average Dewpoint (°C)
10.3 (2016)-14.9 (1985)
2-2.9 (2015)-13.9 (1996)
3-3.0 (1981)-12.6 (2014)
4-3.2 (2009)-12.3 (1978)
5-3.9 (1962)-12.3 (1995)
6-3.9 (2001)-11.9 (1986)
7-4.0 (1954)-11.7 (1955)
8-4.0 (1999)-11.3 (1959)
9-4.2 (1953)-11.3 (1966)
10-4.3 (1983)-11.3 (1976)
11-4.7 (1987)-10.7 (1991)
12-4.8 (1956)-10.1 (1989)
13-4.8 (2005)-9.4 (1982)
14-5.0 (1980)-9.3 (1973)
15-5.0 (2004)-9.1 (1965)
16-5.1 (1994)-9.0 (1990)
17-5.1 (2011)-8.9 (1993)
18-5.2 (2008)-8.8 (2003)
19-5.5 (1998)-8.5 (2013)
20-5.5 (2010)-8.4 (1972)

The graph below shows very well how out of bounds this year was in terms of average dewpoint temperature in November. In fact, it was almost two and a half standard deviations above the 1981-2010 normal of -7.4°C.

Average dewpoints were also at a record high for the fall season. The September to November average was 4.4°C, breaking the old record of 3.6°C in 2009.

A total of 18 record high and high minimum dewpoint records were broken throughout the fall season from September to November: 12 in November, 5 in October and 1 in September. Not a single record low dewpoint occurred. This included a record high dewpoint of 12.3°C on November 6 which was also an all-time high dewpoint temperature for November since 1953. The previous record was 11.1°C on November 5, 1956.

DateRecord TypeNew RecordOld Record
Nov. 4High Maximum9.7°C9.5°C (1981)
Nov. 5High Minimum2.2°C1.7°C (1956)
Nov. 6High Maximum12.3°C9.4°C (2000)
Nov. 6High Minimum4.9°C1.4°C (1977)
Nov. 7High Maximum10.8°C10.4°C (1977)
Nov. 9High Maximum7.7°C6.1°C (2010)
Nov. 23High Minimum-0.4°C-1.5°C (2001)
Nov. 24High Minimum-0.2°C-0.7°C (1988)
Nov. 28High Minimum-1.0°C-1.1°C (1998)
Nov. 29High Maximum3.4°C2.1°C (1998)
Nov. 29High Minimum-1.5°C-2.3°C (1987)
Nov. 30High Minimum-2.1°C-2.8°C (1962)

Postponed First Snowfall

Thanks to warm conditions (and a bit of luck), Winnipeg did not see its first snowfall accumulation of the season until November 22, the latest date on record to see our first measurable snowfall of the season. A measurable snowfall is a snowfall of at least 0.2 cm. This broke the old record of November 21 in 1963 and was more than a month later than the 1981-2010 normal of October 18.

RankDate of First Measurable Snowfall (≥ 0.2cm)Year
1November 222016
2November 211963
3November 201953
4November 191931
5 tie
5 tie
November 18
November 18
7November 171890
8November 161977
9November 151903

Winnipeg also went 225 days without measurable snowfall (Apr 11 to Nov 21), the 3rd longest snow-free period since 1872. The longest such period was 232 days in 1998.

State of the Climate – A Stormy Summer 2016

Summer 2016 will be remembered for its intense and frequent thunderstorm activity which caused several tens of millions of dollars in damage across the Prairies. Manitoba experienced its fair share of the action with multiple damaging wind, flooding rain, tornado and damaging hail events – the most some areas have seen in years. Humidity was high, which possibly was one factor that helped fuel a more intense season. Temperatures were pleasant – not too hot and not too chilly. In fact, temperatures averaged bang on normal in Winnipeg.

 Average or TotalDeviation from NormalRank Since 1873
High Temperature24.6°C-0.1Equal to median
Mean Temperature18.4°C0.0Tied 65th warmest
Low Temperature12.2°C+0.2Tied 47th warmest
Rainfall231.5mm-16.0 (-6%)63rd rainiest

Overall, it was a wet summer, except for a few isolated locations. Winnipeg’s airport actually saw slightly drier than normal conditions from June to August, but this was mainly a result of a dry August when storms mostly missed the location. June and July were wetter than normal.

Wet Summer For Most

Thunderstorms were a regular occurrence throughout not only southern Manitoba but also Saskatchewan and Alberta this summer. Severe thunderstorms occurred almost daily across the Prairies with only a handful of days seeing no severe weather.

Thanks to the active weather, rainfall amounts were above normal throughout most of the three Prairie provinces. Only localized portions of northeastern Manitoba, central Saskatchewan and southwestern Alberta saw below normal rainfall. The wettest areas relative to normal were the southern Red River Valley in Manitoba, southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern and northwestern  Alberta. The following two maps from Canada Drought Watch show percent of normal precipitation and precipitation percentiles for the season since April.

The highest rainfall totals from April 1 to September 8 in southern Manitoba were along the US border in the Killarney to Sprague area where 500 to 750 mm of rain fell. A secondary area of heavier rainfall also occurred east and northeast of Winnipeg with 500 to 650 mm. Letellier took top honours with a whopping 752 mm at the Manitoba Agriculture station. 18 days saw over 20 mm of rain as rounds of heavy rainfall occurred almost every few days. Farmers regularly faced overland flooding on their fields as a result. Other high rainfall totals in the area included Green Ridge with 630 mm, Vita 563 mm, Altona 568 mm, Killarney 520 to 550 mm, Steinbach 530 mm and Morden 490 to 550 mm. High rainfall totals also fell in the Whiteshell area where heavy rains at times caused serious flooding. About 620 mm of rain fell in Falcon Lake and 572 mm in Hadashville during the period. All the above rainfall totals are via Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Fire and Cocorahs.

In Winnipeg, rainfall was slightly above average at the airport between April 1 and September 8 with 365 mm. Average for the period is close to 340 mm. Higher totals fell in other parts of the city however, with 420 to 470 mm in western and southern sections.

Year of Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

A total of 16 tornadoes occurred in Manitoba this year; 1 in May, 2 in June, 5 in July and 8 in August. This is up from 11 tornadoes last year and the most tornadoes in a year in a couple of decades (the 1980’s to early 90’s was a busy period). Manitoba also had the most tornadoes in Canada this year. There were a number of multi-tornado-day events including 4 on August 8 and 3 on July 20 and August 3.

There were many notable hail and wind events this summer across southern Manitoba, too many to list. As a result, I have prepared a list below of what I believe were the top 5 events of the summer.

Top Thunderstorm Events

I have listed, in chronological order, what I believe were the top thunderstorm events of the summer in southern Manitoba

June 24/25 Derecho

A rare derecho event occurred from the evening of June 24th into the overnight on June 25th. A severe thunderstorm complex moved in from Montana and raced across southern Manitoba. A derecho is one of the  most intense thunderstorm events with respect to wind. By definition, it is a thunderstorm complex that produces winds of at least 50 knots (93km/h) along a swath at least 400 km long and whose life span exceeds 6 hours. In addition, no longer than 2-3 hours must pass between successive wind reports. These criteria were met during the June 24/25 event. The following map shows AWM`s Convective Outlook Verification for the event and is included here to show where the severe events were recorded.

Verification of the AWM Convective Outlook for Junes 24/25, 2016
Verification of the AWM Convective Outlook for Junes 24/25, 2016 with hail and wind reports overlaid. Additionally, flooding due to rainfall was reported in several locations within the slight risk region.

Winds in excess of 90 km/h occurred in a swath from Melita to Carberry to Carman to Saint Adolphe with the derecho. Melita was pummelled with a maximum recorded gust of 124 km/h! Trees, fences and homes suffered damage. Gusts over 100 km/h occurred in Deloraine (102 km/h), Waskada (107 km/h) and Carberry (102 km/h), and gusts over 90 km/h occurred in Killarney (96 km/h), Somerset (90 km/h), Ninette (90 km/h), Carman (93 km/h), Morris (91 km/h), Sanford (90 km/h) and Saint Adolphe (92 km/h). Damage was widespread and significant with snapped trees, crop damage and other property damage. Streets in some areas were littered with branches and debris the next morning.

A narrow jet (sting jet?) of winds between 90 and 110 km/h also occurred in the Brandon area behind the massive thunderstorm complex around 4 am. This was a very interesting occurrence because these winds occurred behind the storms and would be a great case study project. Brandon airport recorded a gust of 106 km/h with the event. Forrest, just north of Brandon, recorded a gust of 98 km/h. Trees were snapped and uprooted, which caught many by surprise because there was no thunder or lightning and only light sprinkles occurring at the time.

Wind was not the only severe weather with the storms. Toonie sized hail occurred south of Killarney and nickel sized hail in Winnipeg. Flooding was a problem as well. 80 to 100 mm of rain fell in the Killarney area with a swath of 50 to 80 mm northeastward to Elm Creek. Winnipeg received 25 to 40 mm with highest amounts in southern and eastern sections. Estimated wind gusts near 80 km/h also occurred in the south end as the city was brushed by the strongest winds to the south. Another swath of 50 + mm fell from Selkirk southeastward to Falcon Lake. In fact, the Falcon Lake/West Hawk Lake area received an incredible 140 to 160 mm of rain. Flooding was severe with some highways underwater and closed. Lake levels in the area were unusually high.

July 20 Supercells / Long Plain Tornado

A series of severe thunderstorms developed in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan after 4 pm and raced eastward through southern Manitoba in the evening.

The storms dropped up to tennis ball sized hail in extreme southeastern Saskatchewan before entering into Manitoba. In Manitoba, numerous funnel clouds were seen with the storms west and southwest of Brandon. Two of these became landspout tornadoes near Hartney. With no damage reported, these were rated EF-0. The main story initially was the hail with toonie to tennis ball sized hail from the Melita to Brandon areas. The City of Brandon was hit hard with hail up to golf ball sized, wind gusts over 80 km/h and up to 40 mm of rain in 1 hour.

The supercells then continued eastward with incredible wind gusts and a damaging tornado south of Portage la Prairie. A summary of wind gusts is provided in the following table:

LocationMaximum Wind Gust (km/h)
Portage Southport138
Winnipeg Int'l Airport107
Elm Creek107

The area south of Portage was worst hit with winds over 130 km/h recorded. Widespread and significant damage occurred with trees toppled and uprooted and buildings damaged. A supercell tornado also occurred at the Long Plain FN and New Rosedale Hutterite Colony south of Portage. Buildings were shifted off their foundations, roofs ripped off homes, hydro poles toppled, cars flipped, sheds and farm buildings destroyed and trees were again toppled and uprooted by the tornado. Debris was scattered across fields downwind. The tornado was rated an EF-1. According to CBC, about 150 homes were damaged and some residents remain displaced in September. A video of the tornado from a distance exists here. A timelapse of the storm coming in Winnipeg exists here.

The storm then raced east toward the Winnipeg area. The storm was one of the most ominous storms ever seen with a massive shelf cloud, nearly-constant flashes of lightning and a sky that was almost completely green. Damaging winds occurred with a gust of 107 km/h at Winnipeg International Airport and 115 km/h in Selkirk. Significant damage occurred with trees toppled and some buildings damaged. A roof was partially ripped off an apartment building in north Winnipeg. An estimated 1 million dollars in damage also occurred to a U of M professor`s equipment at the St. Andrews airport. Wind damage also occurred in the Beausejour, Anola, Treherne, Elie and Elm Creek areas. According to Manitoba Hydro [CBC], at peak, 32,000 Manitobans were without power, about 20,000 of which were in Winnipeg.

August 3 Tornado Outbreak

A series of supercell thunderstorms developed in southwestern Manitoba and North Dakota in the afternoon and persisted through the evening. The storms produced numerous tornadoes with three tornadoes in Manitoba: at least one tornado near Glenboro, one tornado west of Morden  and a landspout tornado near Margaret.

The town of Glenboro was lucky as a tornado narrowly missed the town. A tornado formed south of the town after 5 pm and the storm continued to produce a tornado for close to half an hour as it continued northeastward and crossed highway 2. The tornado at one point was a massive wedge tornado northeast of town. Farm sheds and buildings were damaged or destroyed, trees were uprooted and hydro poles were toppled by the tornado. Video of tornado exists here. The storm also dumped 57 mm of rain in 1 hour in Glenboro and 54 mm in 1 hour in Holland to the east. Peak rainfall was just north of Glenboro with a 79 mm storm total recorded at a Weather Farm station.

The Morden area was hit hard by storms moving up from North Dakota. A wind gust of 111 km/h was recorded at the airport. Streets in the city were littered with twigs, branches and toppled trees and shingles were ripped from roofs. Streets were also flooded after 30 to 50 mm of rain fell. A tornado was also seen west of the city in pictures, but no damage directly related to the tornado was ever reported.

Wind damage also occurred in Portage la Prairie, Plum Coulee and Gretna thanks to wind gusts between 80 and 95 km/h.

Storms danced around Winnipeg during this event with only a few mm of rain recorded. Lightning was spectacular however. The storms had just scraped the south end. Saint Adolphe, a short drive south of Winnipeg, recorded 54 mm of rain in 1 hour and a wind gust of 92 km/h. Branches were taken down and some minor flooding was reported.

The low pressure system responsible for the thunderstorms on August 3 also produce slow-moving thunderstorms in the wrap-around portion of the system north of Dauphin. 150 to 190 mm of rain fell in the Ethelbert area in just 6 hours. Flooded fields were reported.

August 8 Tornado Outbreak

Supercell thunderstorms developed in Saskatchewan and moved into southern Manitoba southwest of Riding Mountain National Park, producing the largest tornado outbreak of the year in terms of number of tornadoes. Four tornadoes were confirmed, two of which were rated EF-2 and two rated EF-0. The storms, which tracked from Russell to Erickson, also dumped hail up to tennis ball sized.

Waywayseecappo FN was hit by one of the EF-2 tornadoes. Several homes were damaged or completely destroyed. A school bus was also flipped on its side. Hail up to golf ball sized also fell with the storm. Some residents were evacuated after the storm.

A summary card produced by AWM for the August 8, 2016 tornado outbreak.
A summary card produced by AWM for the August 8, 2016 tornado outbreak.

The other tornadoes were south of Russell, near Elphinstone and near Erickson. The one south of Russell was rated an EF-0 based on tree damage. The one near Elphinstone was also given an EF-0 rating due to no reports of damage. The tornado near Erickson was rated an EF-2. A long swath of forest about 500 metres wide was completely flattened (seen thanks to aerial photos from CBC) and bark ripped off trees. Swirls could be seen in the forest from above, confirming that a tornado indeed produced the damage. The tornado also damaged homes and other buildings in the area. The storms continued southeastward after the last tornado, but weakened.

High Humidity

With an average dewpoint temperature of 13.7°C, summer 2016 tied with 2005 for third most humid summer since 1953 in Winnipeg. Some might think this stat is a little surprising because the summer really wasn’t that hot. In fact, temperatures were only near normal overall and very hot days were few and far between. This was probably a good thing because otherwise, the high humidity combined with hotter temperatures would have made the summer much more unbearable.

July 20 saw the peak humidity of the summer when dewpoint temperatures rose to the 24 to 27°C range across southern Manitoba, breaking records. At Winnipeg Int’l Airport, dewpoint peaked at 25.9°C, the second highest dewpoint reading on record since 1953. The record is 26.1°C on July 17, 1966. Dewpoint temperatures reached an amazing 27°C in Carman, Winkler, Portage, Altona, Beausejour and Minnedosa. The highest reading was in Carman at 27.4°C. The heat and humidity together produced humidex values in the mid 40`s.

Hottest Day of the Year Was Outside of the Summer Season

Consistent with few very hot days this summer, the hottest day of the year was actually outside of the summer season. A high of 35.2°C on May 5th was the hottest of the year and the earliest date to reach the highest temperature of the year on record since 1872. It was also only the 12th time that our hottest day of the year was in May. The high of 35.2°C was also the earliest occurrence of temperature over 35.0°C on record since 1872. Previous earliest was May 8, 1874 with a high of 35.0°C.

1May 5, 201535.2°C
2May 7, 189134.4°C
3 (tie)May 13, 193233.3°C
3 (tie)May 13, 197732.6°C
5 (tie)May 19, 194835.0°C
5 (tie)May 19, 199234.2°C

Warm Year and September so Far

The January to August period averaged 5.5°C in Winnipeg, tied with 1999 for 13th warmest on record since 1873. September so far is averaging just over 2 degrees above normal, making this the 14th warmer than normal September in the last 16 years. September has been and seems to continue to be warming at a rapid pace. In fact, September has warmed 1.0°C in the last 20 years, 0.7°C in the last 10 years and 0.5°C in the last 5 years, showing that warming for the month has accelerated in recent years. The 30-year 1987 to 2016 average for September is 13.4°C, up from 12.9°C in the 1981-2010 normal and the warmest Septembers have been on record. There is certainly no guarantee that this warming trend will continue forever, but what is interesting is how rapidly the month has warmed and how rare it has become to experience a chilly September.