Do not put away that snow shovel just yet. Southern Manitoba is still digging out from the latest snowfall over the weekend, but there is more of the white stuff on the way.
Scott Kehler of Weatherlogics says another system is scheduled to arrive mid-week, bringing another five to 10 centimetres of snow. And then all attention turns to next weekend when another Colorado Low is being forecast. Kehler says this one appears to be different from last week's blizzard, as the system coming this weekend has the potential for warmer air. That means, precipitation could be in the form of rain mixed with snow. He says right now it appears southeastern Manitoba could see between 25 and 50 millimetres of mixed precipitation.
"We'll have to keep an eye on it because the track of these things is notoriously difficult to predict too far in advance," says Kehler. "And so a slight change in the track could change the precipitation amounts and also whether it's rain or snow."
Meanwhile, Kehler has offered an explanation as to what happened in last week's blizzard. He notes the Colorado Low moved out of the central United States and then stalled in North Dakota. Kehler explains a lot of moisture was wrapping around the system, coming all the way from the southern United States, through Ontario and then into Manitoba from the east. For most of the storm, that band of moisture sat from the southern Interlake and down into southwestern Manitoba.
"As a result, the southern Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba was stuck in what we call a dry slot, which is an area where there is not a lot of precipitation happening," he explains.
And, because that dry slot happened to stall over the southeast for most of Wednesday afternoon and evening, that area missed the heaviest snowfall. By the time the system started to move again on Thursday, the snow was lighter, as some of the heaviest bands of snowfall had started to taper off.
This resulted in sharp differences in snowfall amounts. He notes there was very little snow that fell near the U.S. border, but up at Winnipeg there was about 30 centimetres of snow. Kehler says north of Winnipeg saw up to 45 centimetres, while parts of southwestern Manitoba saw more than 60 centimetres of snow. In Steinbach, between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow fell with that system.
Kehler says when that blizzard was first being forecast, initial weather warnings were calling for it to potentially be the worst storm in decades.
"I personally didn't think it was accurate," he admits. "I didn't think the storm would be on that level."
Yet, Kehler says that statement resulted in a lot of people and organizations taking proactive measures. It resulted in the early postponement of the Winnipeg Jets game, and also prompted schools to announce cancellations a day in advance. Kehler says on the one hand it forced people to take steps to ensure they were safe, but on the other hand it allowed some people to think that this storm might be on par with the Storm Of The Century back in April of 1997.
"That blizzard in 1997 was actually in many ways the worst in recorded history for many parts of Manitoba," says Kehler. "So it set an unrealistically high expectation for what the storm would be."
Kehler says it is important that in the future, the potential impact from looming storms is communicated more accurately, so as not to force people into taking unnecessary precautions.
Meanwhile, Kehler says the clipper that blew through southern Manitoba on Sunday dropped another 10 centimetres of snow in the Steinbach area.