2009 Continues To Be Cold

I know I’m a little bit late with our April weather outlook, but sometimes the timing of the forecasts and my deadlines just don’t work out – better late than never!

Before we dive into the weather outlook for April and the rest of spring, we need to take our usual look back at last month’s weather. March started off much like winter had been: cold. The cold weather lasted for the first two weeks of the month and it was beginning to look like it was going to be another long and cold month. Then the mild weather and melt moved in and all of a sudden spring was here!

The mild weather began around March 14 and lasted for a full 10 days before the weather event of the year (so far) moved in. Starting on March 22 a very strong and slow-moving Colorado low began to affect our region. Western areas were the first to feel the storm’s influence as thunderstorms developing ahead of the low rumbled through, dropping significant amounts of rain. While it’s not unheard of to have the odd rumble of thunder in March, having an all-day thundershower/ storm is very unusual, and dumping upward of 80 mm of rain in some areas is also an extremely rare event for March.

By March 24 the main area of low pressure moved in, bringing some heavy March rains to eastern parts of agricultural Manitoba. These rains soon turned into snow and blowing snow as cold air moved in, winter was back.

The return of winter was a little rude, as water-filled fields and ditches froze up, creating problems all over the place. The cold weather lasted right up to the end of the month and when all was said and done, March ended up being a colder-than-average month. Brandon was the coldest, with an average March temperature of -10C – nearly 4C below average. Dauphin wasn’t much better, coming in 3.6C below average. Winnipeg was the warm spot, but still came in below average, with an average temperature of -7.8C.

Precipitation for the month was obviously above average. The month was dry up until the big storm, but once the storm was finished all three regions had well above-average amounts of precipitation. The Dauphin region was the wettest, coming in nearly 60 mm above average. Brandon was next, at 45 mm above average, and Winnipeg was third, with about 25 mm more precipitation than average.

WHO CALLED IT?

Now, who was able to correctly predict the colder-and wetter-than-average March? Well, all three of our main long-range forecasters called it right. Environment Canada, the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac all called for colder-and wetter-than-average conditions in March. Here at the Co-operator I had called for near to slightly colder than average with near-average amounts of precipitation. I did point out that there was a good chance we would see a significant storm during the month, but my official forecast didn’t include this, so I was the odd one out.

So far April has started off on the cold side and the big question is whether this cold weather will continue for the rest of the month. According to Environment Canada we will continue on the cold side along with below-average amounts of precipitation.

Over at the Old Farmer’s Almanac they call for near to slightly above-average temperatures and precipitation. The folks at the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac seem to believe April will be colder than average, with above-average amounts of precipitation, as they mention cold and freezing conditions several times, with plenty of chances of rain, snow and storms.

Finally, here at the Co-operator, I am calling for temperatures to be near to slightly below average as it will be tough for us to dig out of the cold start we have had to the month. Precipitation is always tough to call, but the overall pattern continues to look active, so I think I have to go with near to slightly above average amounts of precipitation.

Looking further ahead to May and June, all three of our forecasters seem to be leaning toward average temperatures for this period. Environment Canada seems to believe we will also continue on the dry side right through June. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for near-average amounts of precipitation in May, and then well above-average amounts in June. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is always a tougher one to figure out, but it appears to call for near-average amounts of rain during this period.

Last but not least, here at the Co-operator, I think I will have to throw my hat in with the other forecasters when it comes to temperature, with a call for near-average conditions. For precipitation I think we will continue on the wet side with slightly above-average amounts of rain.

About the author

Co-operator contributor

Daniel Bezte

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.

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