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The Manitoba Co-operator | November 9, 2017


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“Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Mark Twain, 1897

Winter here to stay? Issued: Monday, November 6, 2017 · Covering: November 8 - November 15 Daniel Bezte Weather Vane


ast week’s forecast played out close to what the w e a t h e r m o d e l s p re dicted. The main difference was that last weekend’s low moved through southern and central regions a day earlier than expected. It also wasn’t able to tap into as much warm air as originally anticipated, resulting in the first widespread significant snowfall of the season. For this forecast period it looks like winter might just be here to stay as cold high pressure looks to dominate our region. The first area of high pressure will build into our region late on Wednesday. We may see a few clouds along with the odd flurry early on Wednesday as a cold front pushes through ahead of the high. The high will be directly over southern and central Manitoba on Friday morning. This will likely be the coldest day, with the daytime high expected to be in the -5 to -8 C range with an overnight low around -15 C. As this high slides off to the east a weak trough of low pres-

sure is forecasted to move through on Saturday, bringing with it some clouds along with a little bit of light snow. Another area of high pressure will then move in on Sunday, bringing a return to sunny skies and cool temperatures. This second high will slowly move off to our southeast during the first half of next week. At the same time, an area of low pressure will move in off the Pacific and slide across the Prairies. The southerly flow on the back side of the high and ahead of the low will help to moderate our temperatures. Expect daytime highs to approach the 0° mark by Wednesday with overnight lows around -8 C. It looks like we’ll see a wintery mix of precipitation from this system, with some rain possible during the day transitioning to snow by evening. # Usual Temperature Range for this period: highs: -6 to 6 C,# lows: -15 to -2 C. Probability of precipitation falling as snow: 75 per cent.


Percent of Average Precipitation

in past 60 days, as of November 2, 2017 < 40 40 to 60 60 to 85 85 to 115 115 to 150


Fort St. John

150 to 200 > 200








Calgary Regina





Copyright © 2017 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Science and Technology Branch. Data provided through partnership with Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Provincial and private agencies. Produced using near real-time data that has undergone some quality control. The accuracy of this map varies due to data availability and potential data errors.

Daniel Bezte is a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the U of W. He operates a computerized weather station near Birds Hill Park. Contact him with your questions and comments at

Created: 2017-11-03

This issue’s map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this fall. The combination of a wet September and a dry October across agricultural Manitoba has resulted in near- to slightly above-average amounts of precipitation this season. The only area with below-average amounts was the northwestern region. Farther west, eastern Saskatchewan along with southern Alberta were drier than average, while western Saskatchewan and most of central and northern Alberta were wetter than average.

Early winter... and holiday gift ideas Exactly when does winter typically arrive in Manitoba? It can vary a lot BY DANIEL BEZTE

“... all three regions of agricultural Manitoba have seen winter start in October and have also seen it start as late as mid-December.”

Co-operator contributor


ith what looks to be an early start to winter across the Prairies, I thought we should go back and take a look at just when we should expect winter to start across southern and central Manitoba. As in most weather-related inquiries, figuring this out appears easier than it really is. How should we define the start of winter? Should it be the first significant snowfall? How about when the high temperature consistently stays below 0 C? Most people would agree that winter doesn’t really arrive until you have snow on the ground, so I used this as my measure of winter’s arrival. Narrowing this down we still have some problems defining the start of winter. What if the snow we received on November 4 melts and we don’t receive any more snow until December 4, for example. Did winter start on November 4 or December 4? For me, I call this situation a false start to winter and I would record the winter in this example as starting on Dec 4. Now, once this was determined I went through the snowfall records for Winnipeg,

Earliest Start Latest Average Usual Range




Oct. 27, 1972

Oct. 21, 1991

Oct. 8, 1959

Dec. 16, 1939 Nov. 14 Nov. 3-26

Brandon, and Dauphin going back to 1942 and I came up with the following results: From this table, we can see that all three regions of agricultural Manitoba have seen winter start in October and have also seen it start as late as mid-December. Winnipeg and Brandon both have an average date for snow to stick around of November 14, with Dauphin being four days earlier at November 10. The usual range is a measure of the standard deviation around the average and it indicates the range of days that we should expect winter to begin. If winter begins before or after these dates, it is a very unusual year. As I looked back, calculating when winter first arrives,

Dec. 15, 1974

Nov. 14 Nov. 2-27

Dec. 14, 1981

Nov. 10 Oct. 29-Nov. 22

I also started tracking earlywinter snowstorms. The earliest and largest snowstorm to hit our region (since 1942) occurred in October of 1959 and hit the Dauphin area. It began on October 7 and lasted until the 10th and during this time 53.5 cm of snow fell. This was enough that it did not melt before the real cold of winter moved in. The Dauphin region also holds the record for the second- and third-largest early-winter snowstorms. On November 13-14, 1984, the region experienced 43.4 cm of snow, and between November 5 and 10, 2000, Dauphin saw 44 cm of snow. The fourth-place snowstorm goes to the Winnipeg region and it was not the blizzard of

1986 but the storm of 1958. Between November 15 and 18 the Winnipeg area received 43 cm of snow. During this s a m e s t o r m , t h e Bra n d o n region saw its third-largest early-winter snowstorm, with a total accumulation of 27.5 cm. Later that same month, Brandon received a second, even larger snowstorm, which gave the region another 35.6 cm of snow and this stands as the largest early-winter snowstorm for that region. The blizzard of 1986 rounds off the list of top early-wint e r s n ow s t o r m s, w h e n o n November 7 and 8 of that year the Winnipeg region saw 35.2 cm of snow fall. While, I don’t mind the snow, the older I get the less I seem to like it, so I’m hoping we don’t challenge any of these records this year. Now, as promised, a quick look at weather-related items that you might want to put on your holiday list this year. For those of you interested in a full-blown weather station, the top choice once again is the Davis Vantage Vue system. Running between $500 and $700 this station has consistently ranked as one of the best. It pretty much measures everything you would want and is easy to install. While there are cheaper systems out there that do the same thing,

I can say from experience, the Davis stations just keep on working year after year, with minimal maintenance. If a big-budget station is not what you are looking for then there are plenty of lowcost stations out there. Most of these stations have an indoor console to display the data and simply measure indoor/ outdoor temperatures, humidity, and barometric pressure. They will often also give basic forecasts based on this data. Canadian Tire often has these systems on sale for some great prices. Just remember, these stations usually only work for a couple of years before something goes wrong. Finally, there are the traditional style of weather instruments ranging from simple rain gauges to flashy barometers. One of the most interesting ones that I came across is the Fischer Instruments 115.01 laboratory-grade outdoor thermometer with human hair hygrometer. It runs for around $100, looks nice, and is just a neat, accurate, conversational weather instrument. There are literally hundreds of different weather instruments available, and if you go by the adage that you get what you pay for, you can’t go wrong.

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Manitoba cooperator