Winnipeg has gone through an interesting week, enduring dangers from opposite ends of the elemental spectrum.
It started off with a massive fuel plant fire at Speedway International Inc, complete with the somewhat insulting inability of a certain news agency to spell the city's name correctly. Officials issued an evacuation order for nearly 100 homes in the area due to explosions and the thick black smoke spewing from the building. Residents were allowed to return to their homes just after midnight.
There was a breather of a day or so until Environment Canada issued the following special weather statement on Wednesday at 7:26 a.m. CDT:
"An approaching low pressure system will usher in precipitation to southeastern Manitoba this evening. As daytime temperatures cool with sunset, the rain may become mixed with or turn over completely to snow in some areas. There is still uncertainty int he track and timing of the system. The temperatures will have a major impact on the nature of the precipitation phase and any potential for snowfall and snowfall accumulations. The ground being fairly warm should not allow for any appreciable accumulations unless the intensity of the snow is sufficiently strong. Even if some snow did manage to accumulate, it would be short lived."
As the storm moved in, though, things developed a bit differently, as their Thursday statement reported some significant snowfall accumulations:
"As of 5 PM there are widespread reports of 10-20 cm of wet snow accumulation in Eastern Manitoba, along with power outages caused by high winds and the heavy wet snow. There were numerous reports of tree damage as well. Some individual totals are..Vita 25 cm..South Junction 20 cm..Bissett 20 cm..Pinawa 10 cm..La Broquerie 10 cm..Steinbach 4-8 cm."
Weather observations from James Armstrong Richardson International Airport showed several hours of snow and a mix of rain and snow, but no snowfall accumulations were reported there for the duration of the storm. That's not anything particularly unusual, mainly due to the urban heat island effect, however it's also possible that the airport simply does not report precipitation amounts.
This storm was certainly unusual, but it isn't unheard of for Winnipeg to see snowfall this early in the season. On this very day in 2005, Winnipeg had up to 10 centimetres of snow on the ground, and other parts of southern Manitoba had upwards of 45 centimetres!
Light snow is still falling in Winnipeg today, with another 2 cm of snow forecast before it stops. However, the warmer temperatures over the weekend should melt all the accumulations away fairly quickly.
[ Related: Rain, wet snow blows into Manitoba ]
Northwestern Ontario was caught in the same storm overnight last night, with Kenora Airport reporting accumulations of 12 cm of snow by this morning, and areas across northern Ontario will likely see snow tonight and tomorrow from this system.