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Cold and wet – new pattern?

In the last issue we took a look ahead to see what the winter might have in store for us. In this issue we’re going to take our monthly look back at the weather and then look only a little ahead to try and see what November might bring us weather-wise.

Well, I guess we can say it is official. October 2012 was the first month where all regions of southern and central Manitoba saw below-average temperatures in over 15 months! That’s right, up until last month, our region has seen above-average monthly temperatures for 15 straight months. That’s well over a year of above-average monthly temperatures.

We all knew this amazing streak of above-average temperatures would have to come to an end at some point and I guess it was lucky for us that it didn’t come to a crashing end. Instead, we slowly dipped into below-average conditions which, I think, made the transition a little easier to take.

The month of October started off with some fairly nice weather, with a number of locations seeing high temperatures in the 20 C range on the first and second of the month. We then saw the temperatures drop off during the next seven to 10 days, with some regions even receiving some significant snowfall.

Just when it looked like this was going to be one miserable month, the temperatures recovered back to well above average Oct. 15 and 16. Along with the above-average temperature came some rain and even the odd clap of thunder in some areas.

The last two weeks of the month saw temperatures cool off once again, with daily high temperatures only making it to around 5 to 8 C and overnight lows falling into the -3 to -8 C range. Along with these cool temperatures came plenty of clouds and a few showers and flurries.

I think the other big weather story for October would be the amount of sunshine we received, or rather the lack of sunshine, at least over central and eastern areas. Unfortunately, sunshine data is tough to get, but this simple observation tells us that there was not a lot of sunshine during October. It was this persistent cloud cover that I believe helped moderate our overnight temperatures, keeping them warmer than what they might have been. This in turn kept us from seeing a really cold month.

When all the numbers were added up, it turns out that most locations across our region in October 2012 came in a good 1.6 C below their long-term averages. With several significant precipitation events occurring during the month, precipitation ended up coming in above average, with both Winnipeg and Brandon recording around 55 mm of precipitation, which is a good 20 mm above the long-term average.

Now the fun part. Who had the best October forecast? Well, I hate to say it, but when I looked back at the different forecasts the only one that was correct was the forecast made by the Canadian Farmers Almanac. It called for, or at least I interpreted their forecast, as calling for a colder-than-average October along with above-average amounts of precipitation. I guess our hat has to go off to them since no one else even came close!

That leaves us with November’s forecast.

Environment Canada’s forecast is calling for near-average temperatures across all of southern and central Manitoba, and above-average temperatures just to the east and west of us. As for precipitation, it is calling for near-average amounts over eastern and central regions, with above average amounts over extreme western regions.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for well-above-average temperatures in November with temperatures running a good 3 C above average. It does mention cold conditions several times but it is always followed quickly by a return to mild temperatures. It says precipitation will be near average during the month.

The Canadian Farmers Almanac appears to be calling for near- to slightly below-average temperatures for November as it mentions fair and then colder several times. It looks like it will be a snowy month according to it, as it mentions unsettled, stormy, and heavy or significant snows several times during the month.

Finally, here at the Co-operator, I am going to actually concur with the Canadian Farmers Almanac. That’s right, you read it correctly. After studying the mid-range weather models I would have to go with a really good chance of seeing above-average amounts of precipitation along with near to slightly below-average temperatures. Combine the two and that would mean there is a good chance of seeing significant amounts of snow this month. Hey, maybe there is more to this whole dream thing after all.

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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