Looking back at 2008

With 2008 coming to an end, the year overall turned out to be cooler and wetter than average, with all three of our major stations (Winnipeg, Brandon, and Dauphin) repor ting a mean annual temperature that was around 1.5C below the long-term average. Precipitation was also above average for the year, with all three stations coming in around 40 mm above average. While the overall yearly averages are interesting, let’s take a quick month-by-month review of the weather that occurred during 2008.

January

The way the year started off was indicative of the way the year would turn out. The weather during January was warmer and drier than average, with a few above-freezing temperatures during the early part of the month and no real significant cold snap at any time during the month.

February

This month turned out to be the coldest month of the year, with average temperatures running up to 5C below the long-term average. Ironically, the coldest temperatures occurred right around Valentine’s Day, with overnight lows pushing -40C is some areas. Precipitation was a little heavier than January, but was still below average.

March

Temperatures continued on the cold side during March, with average temperatures running from 1.5 to 3.5C below average across Agricultural Manitoba. Precipitation was also above average during this month, with nearly half of it falling in a late-March snowstorm that brought upwards of 20 to 25 cm of snow.

April

April saw a moderation in the cold temperatures of the previous two months, but they still remained slightly below average. Precipitation during this month was very light, with most places only seeing around 25 per cent of what would normally be expected.

May

This month saw an intensification of the cold weather, with average temperatures for the month coming in a chilly 3 to 4C below average. Precipitation varied a little bit across our region during this month. Both Winnipeg and Dauphin saw a little less-than-average precipitation during the month, while Brandon, thanks to a heavy downpour on the 25th, recorded above-average amounts of rain.

June

June turned out to be the fifth month in a row with below-average temperatures. Temperatures during this month averaged around 1.5C below average. While the month might have been cool it was also wet, especially in the Brandon and Dauphin regions that saw upwards of 140 mm of rain during the month.

July

Almost unbelievably, July was the sixth consecutive month with below-average temperatures across our region. Along with the continuation of the cool conditions’ the Brandon and Dauphin regions continued with their above-average amount of precipitation. Especially hard hit was the Interlake region, where flooding was becoming commonplace.

August

Finally a warmer-than-average month! But just by a little bit. Winnipeg and Dauphin saw wetter-than-average conditions, while Brandon was able to dry out a little bit.

September

Warm and wet during this month in the Winnipeg region; this made harvesting a little difficult. In the Brandon and Dauphin areas, temperatures were around average with precipitation a little on the light side.

October

Warm weather continued into October with several stations reporting no killing frost right up to near the middle of the month. Precipitation continued to be a little on the light side in Brandon and Dauphin, while Winnipeg continued on with its wet fall.

November

The heat was really turned on during the first couple of days of this month. Temperature records tumbled in a number of locations on the 3rd of the month as temperatures flirted with, and in some places broke, the 20C mark. Along with the mild temperatures came drier-than-average conditions in the Brandon and Dauphin regions. In the Winnipeg and southeast part of the province an early winter storm brought a mix of rain and snow with total rainfall accumulations of over 50 mm in some areas.

December

Well, even though I am writing this on December 17, it is really looking like our string of above-average temperatures will be coming to an end. The month started off mild, but cold air quickly invaded bringing a strong cold snap to the region by the middle of the month. Unless the long-range models are way off, it doesn’t look like we will see this month end up on the mild side.

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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