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Warm and dry or cold and snowy November?

At the end of September we looked back at what was a pretty darned nice month! At the time I compared this September to the one in 2009, then hoped that we wouldn’t follow 2009 with a really cold October. Well, it turns out October 2013 wasn’t that cold, but it wasn’t that warm either.

Thinking back on the weather for October, to me it didn’t seem as though it was that cold. Sure, we had that cold snap late in the month, but it didn’t last for more than a couple of days. Yet when I looked at the numbers for the month it turned out all three main regions (Brandon, Dauphin, Winnipeg) had mean monthly temperatures about 1 C below the long-term average. Brandon was the cold spot, with a mean monthly temperature of 3.6 C, which was 1.3 C below average. Dauphin was the next coldest at 3.9 C, 0.8 C below average. Winnipeg was the warmest, with a mean monthly temperature of 4.5 C, 0.8 C below average.

Looking back at the temperatures in a little more detail, I found the first half of October saw above-average temperatures, with highs peaking near or even slightly above 20 C on Oct. 9 to 11. Along with the warm daytime highs during the first half of the month, overnight lows also remained fairly mild, with only a few nights dropping a couple of degrees below 0 C. By the middle of the month we started to see a gradual cool-down take place and by the 20th, daytime highs were struggling to make 5 C and overnight lows were now routinely in the -2 to -7 C range. These cool temperatures continued pretty much to the end of the month, resulting in our below-average overall temperatures.

Precipitation was a little less uniform across the region during October. In the Winnipeg region conditions were very dry, with only seven millimetres of precipitation officially recorded. This was well below the long-term average of 36 mm. The Dauphin region saw near-average amounts of precipitation, with Dauphin recording 33 mm — close to the long-term average of 36 mm. The Brandon region was the wet spot with 41 mm recorded, compared to its average of 28.

Who called it?

Overall, I would say October came in slightly colder than average with near- to slightly-above-average amounts of precipitation over western regions, with below-average amounts in the East. Looking back at the different forecasts for October it would appear no one was able to get October’s monthly forecast right. Everyone except the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac had called for above-average temperatures, but it also called for above-average amounts of precipitation. So, even though the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac didn’t call for the dry conditions over eastern regions, I guess it would be the closest to being correct.

Now, on to November’s forecast: according to Environment Canada, November 2013 will see above-average temperatures along with near-average amounts of precipitation for all regions, except the far northwest, which will see above-average amounts. The Old Farmer’s Almanac also calls for above-average temperatures and near-average amounts of precipitation. Over at the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac, it calls for almost the exact opposite of the first two forecasts. It calls for below-average temperatures with the mention of cold conditions several times along with above-average amounts of snow.

Finally, here at the Co-operator, I am calling for temperatures to be above average as the lack of an early snow cover should allow temperatures to remain on the mild side at least for the first couple of weeks. There are some hints of colder weather moving in during the second half of the month, but the overall trend over the last week or so is toward milder conditions.

Precipitation is always the toughest thing to predict for any month and November is probably one of the hardest months, as we transition from fall into winter. With that in mind, it currently looks as if November will see below-average amounts of precipitation as the pattern does not look to be that active over the next couple of weeks. If we do see a transition to cold weather for the second half of the month, these transitions are usually accompanied by a day or two of stormy weather that could bring significant amounts of precipitation, but that’s a lot of “ifs,” so I’ll just stick with my original forecast.

Next issue we’ll take a longer look ahead and see what the different forecasts are calling for the rest of the winter.

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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