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2013 was colder than the average year

A month-by-month review of weather for agricultural Manitoba in 2013

The new year is a time to look forward and try to anticipate what the upcoming year will have in store for us, but it’s also a time to look back and reflect on what happened in the previous year. I’ve taken some time to do just that with the top weather stories from across Canada during 2013, and now I think it’s time to zoom in a little closer on how the weather of 2013 added up across southern and central Manitoba.

I’m going to start off with the overall weather picture from 2013 and then go quickly through each month summing up the main weather stories. Looking at the three main data centres of Winnipeg, Brandon and Dauphin, I don’t think that it will surprise anyone that the mean yearly temperature at all three locations came in below the long-term average. Both Winnipeg and Brandon had a mean yearly temperature that was nearly 2 C below the long-term average. Dauphin was a little milder, but still came in around 1.3 C below average. Precipitation amounts were a little more varied. The Winnipeg region had a dry year, with the total amount of rain and snow coming in nearly 115 mm short of the long-term average. The Dauphin region was also dry, with the yearly total coming in around 85 mm below average. Around Brandon things were a little wetter, with the yearly total coming in about 50 mm above average.

2013 started off on the warm side across our region, with January’s mean monthly temperatures ranging from 1 to 2 C above average. Along with the warm temperatures came a fair bit of snow in the Winnipeg region, but western areas missed out on a lot of the snow and ended up drier than usual for the month.

February experienced some large fluctuations in temperature as warm air tried to push out the cold. High temperatures fluttered around the 0 C mark on several days during the month, but we also saw several nights with lows in the -30 to -35 C range. Overall, the month ended up being near average for both temperature and precipitation.

Then came March. Usually we look forward to the strong March sunshine and the start of the melt season. Well, we did get some strong March sunshine, but it was accompanied by some very cold March weather. The weather during March was not incredibly cold; it just never really got warm. Daytime highs on most days were in the -9 to -3 C range, with overnight lows fluctuating between the mid-minus-teens to the mid-minus-20s. It took until the last couple of days of the month before we recorded above-freezing temperatures. Precipitation was average for the month, which meant most places saw a fair bit of snow.

If we thought March was cold, April was as cold or colder, at least compared to average temperatures. Daytime highs during the month rarely made it to the 5 C mark, and it took until the very end of the month for highs to break into the double digits. This cold weather resulted in a very slow snow melt with a fair amount of snow still on the ground in some areas at the end of the month.

After one of the coolest springs in a long time, everyone was looking forward to a nice warm May, and for the most part, it worked out. Even though overall temperature for May came in below average, the month was actually pretty nice. The first few days of the month were fairly cold, but by the 6th, highs had broken into the 20s for the first time that year. The mild weather continued into June, with mean monthly temperatures coming in above average for the first time since January. Over eastern regions the month was a little on the dry side, but there was still enough rain to get the crops off to a good start. Over western regions it was a different story. While the first three weeks of June were warm and dry, that all changed on June 22 and 23 when heavy thunderstorms brought widespread rainfalls of 50 to over 100 mm of rain. To make things even worse, more heavy rain hit a couple of days later, bringing totals to over 150 mm over a large area.

From the Alberta Farmer Express website: Prairie winter wheat seen safe under a blanket of snow

Good growing conditions

July started off warm during the first week or so before cooler conditions set in. While it was cool, it wasn’t cold, and overall it made for some good growing conditions, especially given the late start some of the crops had. August and September ended up being our summer months, as well-above-average temperatures moved in and stayed. Precipitation amounts were a little bit below average, but the rains seemed to come just when they were needed. After such a warm September everyone again hoped it would continue for the rest of the fall, but Mother Nature had different plans. The warm weather we saw in September tried to hold on early in October, but soon lost out to cold weather. Nearly every night in October saw temperatures fall well below freezing, with some nights late in the month dropping to around -15 C.

These cooler-than-average conditions continued in November, but overall, the month wasn’t too bad. We saw some snow but no major snowstorms, and there were only a couple of really cold days with overnight lows in the mid-minus-20s. Then came December. After a couple of nice days to start the month, the cold air moved in and never really left. We didn’t have any huge snowstorms, but we had enough little ones to make it a fairly snowy month. What I think most people will remember about December was how it seemed that whenever you wanted to get outside to do something, it was just too darned cold. Until next week, keep warm!

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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