Unseasonal Warmth Will Challenge Numerous Records

Winnipeg will see the peak warmth of the current weather system move in today with temperatures climbing well above the freezing mark. The unseasonable warmth will challenge several record types: record highs, record high minimums, record high dew points, and record high minimum dew points.

Everything ending in °C will be the highlight over the coming days as even more warm air floods into the region. Today’s high will reach around 4°C, while tomorrow’s and Sunday’s highs will be near 3°C. Overnight lows will remain very mild as well, with lows near 0°C tonight, -5°C tomorrow night and +1°C on Sunday night.

Winnipeg, MB Temperature & Dewpoint Records for February 17-19
DateRecord TypeCurrent Record
February 17High Temperature5.4°C (1981)
High Minimum Temperature0.8 (1998)
High Dewpoint2.0°C (1981)
High Minimum Dewpoint-0.6°C (1998)
February 18High Temperature3.9°C (1954)
High Minimum Temperature-0.2°C (1998)
High Dewpoint0.6°C (1954)
High Minimum Dewpoint-1.3°C (1998)
February 19High Temperature5.6°C (1930)
High Minimum Temperature0.2°C (2016)
High Dewpoint0.6°C (1954)
High Minimum Dewpoint-0.5°C (1981)

These temperatures will challenge many of the records listed above. For daytime highs, it’s important to note that there will likely be significant variability around the city. The official records are for the official Environment & Climate Change Canada observing site located at the Winnipeg airport, which tends to be colder than much of the city during warm spells at this time of year. Throughout the city, temperatures could be anywhere from 2-4°C higher than what’s reported at the ECCC site.

The GDPS is forecasting temperatures up to 12-14°C above normal over the coming few days in Winnipeg.

Skies will see variable cloudiness over the next few days, but we’ll see no real threat of precipitation aside from a very low chance of a light rain shower this evening.

Winds will strength out of the southwest today to around 25-35 km/h with some gustiness, particularly near the western escarpment of the Red River Valley. These winds will continue overnight and then gradually taper off on Saturday. The wind will then swing around to the east/southeast on Saturday night and begin strengthening on Sunday to 20-30 km/h ahead of the next system.

Long Range

The beginning of next week will bring a Colorado Low that poses the threat for significant impact on the region, however it’s difficult to pin down much of a forecast at this point as solutions for this disturbance vary dramatically, with some models dragging the precipitation of the low up the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border and others shunting it well off to the east over Lake Superior.

What we can say is that there will be a Colorado Low that will threaten the region on Monday, potentially into Tuesday. This system will be bringing an abnormally high amount of moisture with it, and with the mild temperatures, that means that any precipitation from it would fall as rain. Forecast amounts have varied, but in general it seems like this system will produce a swath that receives 10-20mm of rain. Whether or not that falls in the Red River Valley will yet to be seen.

That much rainfall would be very abnormal for this time of year. Current rainfall records for this general time of year are:

Winnipeg, MB Rainfall Records for February 19-21
DateRecord TypeCurrent Record
February 19Rainfall1.0mm (1997)
February 20Rainfall0.3mm (1965)
February 21Rainfall5.8mm (1877)

The potential to over double the current record rainfall amount, all the while still having frozen ground with high water content and a fair amount of snow would likely introduce a risk for overland flooding.1 In North Dakota, the NWS has issued hazardous weather outlooks regarding this system for the potential for minor water level rises in low-lying areas and for area rivers. In the end, though, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in where exactly this system will track, so we’ll be keeping an eye on things as it develops.

Otherwise, temperatures will finally begin to cool back towards normal behind this system, but it continues to appear like southern Manitoba will be near the primary storm track and see more frequently unsettled weather through the remainder of next week.

Winnipeg’s seasonal daytime high is currently -8°C while the seasonal overnight low is -18°C.


  1. While I do have training in meteorology, this sort of issue is more of a hydrological challenge. I’m not formally trained in hydrology, but the fields are closely related and I do have some familiarity with it. That said, as it gets closer, monitor the news for any statements from the Province of Manitoba regarding the flooding threat. 

Temperatures Soar For The Week Ahead

Very mild temperatures will spread into Southern Manitoba this week sending daytime highs soaring to over 10°C above normal for mid-January.

The week will start with one more day with seasonal temperatures in Winnipeg & the Red River Valley as mainly sunny skies combine with light winds as temperatures climb to a high near -6°C. Temperatures will dip to around -11°C tonight as winds begin to pick up from the south in advance of an incoming warm front.

Tuesday and Wednesday will bring the arrival of warmer weather to the region as a warm front sweeps eastwards across the province. Tuesday will see winds increasing out of the south to around 30-40 km/h while temperatures climb to a high near -3°C late in the day. The winds will diminish in the evening and temperatures will dip to a low near -5 or -6°C. On Wednesday, the warm air will push even further east, sending daytime highs to the 0°C mark in the Red River Valley with fairly light winds. Expect temperatures to dip down to around -2 or -3°C on Wednesday night.

The forecast 850mb temperatures show clearly the push of mild air across the Prairies through mid-week.

Both Tuesday and Wednesday have some uncertainty as to how much cloud will move in. At best, we could expect mixed skies, however I think it will lean towards the cloudier side than the sunnier side. Having fairly cloudy conditions as we warm up to the freezing mark in January would not exactly be uncommon for this area.

Long Range

The second half of the week will continue to bring mild temperatures with daytime highs near the freezing mark and variable cloudiness. Heading into the weekend, it begins to appear that the weather will begin to get a bit busier as the storm track shifts towards our region. It looks like, at this point, Saturday may bring a chance of rain or freezing rain, but amounts would be fairly light. The remainder of the weekend looks cloudy and mild.

Heading into the start of next week, models are beginning to converge on the development of another Colorado Low that would impact our region. It’s still very early, so as usual plenty can change between now and then, but at the moment it appears that this system could bring snow into Winnipeg & the Red River Valley sometime Monday and persist through Tuesday. Forecast storm total amounts are generally in the 10-20 cm right now. We’ll be keeping an eye on this system as we get closer and things begin to shape up more.

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

More Snow as Colorado Low Grazes Manitoba

More snow is on the way for Southern Manitoba as a Colorado Low grazes the region as it moves through the Dakotas and Minnesota. After the passage of that system, the upper-level pattern will shift and bitterly cold Arctic air will spill southeastward across the Prairies.

Snow will build into Southern Manitoba through the day today from the southwest, with a few isolated flurries in the morning intensifying into more persistent snow through the afternoon. By 6PM, most areas along and south of the Trans-Canada Highway will be seeing snow. The snow will persist through much of the night before tapering off on Tuesday morning.

NAM-based accumulated snowfall for the next storm based on a 10:1 snow ratio.

The NAM model pictured above has been consistently producing a total of between 6-8 cm at a 10:1 snowfall ratio (SLR), however it appears likely that the SLR will be higher at around 14:1, which would push storm-total snowfall ranges in the Red River Valley from around 8-12 cm in Winnipeg to 10-20 cm near the US border. Amounts States-side will be higher, with nearly 25cm of snow expected through east-central North Dakota into Minnesota.

Temperatures will be seasonal with highs in the -9 to -11°C range today and temperatures dropping to -18°C by Tuesday morning.

Winds will be breezy through the day today out of the northeast at around 20-30 km/h. As Winnipeg & the Red River Valley move onto the back-side of this system tonight, winds will strengthen out of the north to northwest to around 40 km/h. These gusty winds will combine with the fresh snowfall to produce blowing snow on area highways with locally poor visibilities. The winds will begin to ease through the early afternoon, bringing an end to the blowing snow.

Cooler Weather For The Remainder Of The Week

Temperatures will be much cooler on Tuesday with little movement from the overnight low near -18°C as colder air moves into the region from the northwest. Even colder conditions will move in on Tuesday night with overnight lows expected to drop to around the -27°C mark. Wednesday will see Winnipeg & the Red River Valley entrenched in the Arctic air with highs near the -22°C mark and an overnight low dipping back down to around the -27°C mark.

The upcoming cold snap can be seen in this forecast for the second half of the week showing the cold air aloft building into Southern Manitoba.

Skies on Tuesday will remain fairly cloudy until the late afternoon when things begin to break up. It doesn’t appear that this cold snap will be associated with particularly sunny skies, though. The main ridge axis will pass well to our west, making it more difficult for all of the cloud to clear from Southern Manitoba. The Red River Valley will mainly see mixed to cloudy skies through much of the week.

Long Range

Little pattern change is expected in the next 7-10 days.

NAEFS 8-14 Day Temperature Anomaly Forecast — Valid January 9-16, 2016

As this NAEFS outlook shows, below-normal temperatures will likely remain in place for the next 1-2 weeks. Temperatures may moderate next week to be closer, but still below, seasonal values. Conditions look fairly dry with little snow expected; the next potential for some snow may be with a clipper system early next week.

So after this snowfall, Winnipeg & region will be falling into a relatively quiet and cold pattern, holding strong for at least the next 7-10 days.

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

Colorado Low Looms

Our first significant Colorado Low in some time will bring a variety of precipitation types to southern Manitoba today. Rain, snow, freezing rain, and ice pellets will be possible.

A variety of precipitation types will be possible in southern Manitoba today. The map shows areas of rain (green), snow (blue), freezing rain (purple), and ice pellets (red).
A variety of precipitation types will be possible in southern Manitoba today. The map shows areas of rain (green), snow (blue), freezing rain (purple), and ice pellets (red).

Today

Monday
2°C / 1°C
Mixed precipitation early, then rain

A powerful Colorado Low will bring a mixed-bag of precipitation to southern Manitoba today. Precipitation will likely start out as freezing rain or ice pellets in portions of the Red River Valley and south-eastern Manitoba this morning, before changing to rain later in the morning. Rainfall amounts of 5-10 mm are expected in most areas, with higher amounts possible near the International border. There may be a bit of snow at times, but little accumulation is expected – and any that were to accumulate will be melted by rain later in the day. However, the story will be different in western Manitoba, where snow will be the dominant precipitation mode for the day. Accumulations of 5-10 cm are likely in most areas by tonight. Winds will be gusty out of the north-east at 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h, bringing some blowing and drifting to open parts of western Manitoba.

Tuesday

Tuesday
1°C / -1°C
Periods of snow

This Colorado Low will take its time exiting our region, affecting us once again on Tuesday. Unfortunately (for some), rain will change to snow on Tuesday in the Red River Valley and south-eastern Manitoba. Accumulations of 4-8 cm are likely in addition to possibly a couple millimetres of rain or mixed precipitation early in the day. Western Manitoba can expect another 5-10 cm on Tuesday, bringing totals up to 10-20 cm. The model graphic shown below, which considers a wide-range of possible solution, shows a very high probability (>80%) of over 10 mm of total precipitation in most of southern Manitoba. Winds will remain gusty out of the north on Tuesday at 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h.

Most of southern Manitoba stands a very high chance of receiving over 10 mm of precipitation with this system (NAEFS graphic).
Most of southern Manitoba stands a very high chance of receiving over 10 mm of precipitation with this system (NAEFS graphic).

Wednesday

Wednesday
-1°C / -4°C
Mainly cloudy with flurries

The Colorado Low will continue to linger on Wednesday, but snowfall rates will decrease. Flurries are expected throughout the day, but accumulations should be small. Winds will remain breezy from the north at 20-30 km/h.

Long Range

It appears that we’ll see generally seasonal to slightly-above seasonal temperatures as we move into early December. However, longer-range models do hint at a very cold arctic air mass being pulling down from the north about one week into the month. This will have to be monitored, as it would be our first significant bought of below-normal temperatures in quite awhile.