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Cool Weather To Continue Into May?

Ithink if I had to describe April’s weather in just a few words it would be “the same old thing.” During the first four months of 2009 we have basically been stuck in the same general weather pattern. This pattern is keeping any really warm air bottled up to our south, but at the same time the pattern is active enough to keep any of the really bad cold spells fairly short-lived. The end result is that we have now gone through four months of slightly below-average temperatures and if you ask me, four months is enough!

If we look at the general weather pattern across North America over the last several months we would see the main jet stream has been situated across the central U. S., with a second, much weaker jet well to our north. So you could call it a split flow, but the southern branch, for the most part, has been the dominant jet. With the strong jet stream being to our south, this means it is difficult for any warm, subtropical air to make it this far north, thus no major warm spells. With a weaker branch of the jet stream to our north, this has kept most of the really cold air to our north. Since this branch of the jet stream is much weaker, it is not nearly as effective, and as we have all experienced, cold air has made many southward pushes over the last few months.

The position of the southern branch of the jet stream has also resulted in most of the big storm systems remaining to our south, but the track was close enough for us to see some significant amounts of precipitation. Along with the precipitation we have also seen a fair bit of cloud which, at least during March and April, helped to keep us on the cool side.

COOLER BY THE NUMBERS

So, just how did the numbers add up for the month of April? Well, as you’ve likely guessed, we had another month of cooler-than-average conditions. Dauphin had the coolest average temperature for the month of April, with a value of 2.7C. Brandon was next, with an average temperature of 2.9C, and Winnipeg was the warm spot with an average temperature of 3.2C. Interestingly enough, Dauphin’s cool reading was actually the reading that was closest to the long-term average, being only 0.4C below this value. Both Brandon and Winnipeg’s readings came in around 1C below their long-term averages.

Precipitation during April did not follow the wet pattern of the last couple of months. While all three regions saw some significant amounts of precipitation, values overall were right around average. Dauphin recorded around 24 millimetres, a little below average. Brandon and Winnipeg both came in around 32 mm for the month– pretty much bang on the long-term average.

Now the fun part: who did the best job at predicting April’s weather? Well, it looks like once again, none of the weather prognosticators were able to come up with a correct prediction. Environment Canada had the temperatures correct, but called for below-average amounts of precipitation. The Old Farmer’s Almanac was off on the temperature, as it had called for above-average values and also called for above-average amounts of precipitation. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac was close, with a call for below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation. Finally, here at the Co-operator, I was pretty close, with a call for near-to slightly below-average temperatures and near-to slightly above-average amounts of precipitation.

The real question now is: which of us weather brainiacs knows what May will have in store for us?

CALLING MAY

Environment Canada calls for near-average temperatures across the eastern parts, with below-average temperatures across the western and northern parts of agricultural Manitoba. Precipitation-wise, it calls for below-average amounts. Interestingly enough, its percentage for calling it correct in May for our region is only around 40 per cent (maybe we should go with the opposite forecast!).

Over at the Old Farmer’s Almanac it calls for near-average temperatures along with below-average amounts of precipitation. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to call for below-average temperatures with several mentions of cold outbreaks of air. It also appears as if it will be fairly wet, with several mentions of storms and showers.

Finally, here at the Co-operator, I do not really see any solid sign to the end of the current weather pattern (there are some hints toward the middle of the month). So I’m going to predict that we will see another month of near-to slightly below-average temperatures (with a nice end to the month). Precipitation is always the toughest call, so I’ll play it safe with a call for near-to slightly below-average amounts of precipitation.

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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