Manitoba

Winnipeg busts myths with coldest, snowiest winter in decades, climatologist says

This winter has Winnipeg’s coldest in 40 years, said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.

Some relief in sight, although cooler-than-normal March is predicted

Winnipeggers have bundled up for the city's coldest winter in 40 years, said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

March might not provide the relief Winnipeggers are looking for after the coldest — and snowiest — winter in decades.

This winter has been Winnipeg's coldest in 40 years, said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada. The average temperature was about seven degrees Celsius colder than normal.

"I'm not talking about the wind chill — when it gets this cold you don't need to embellish that kind of cold," he said.

In February, Winnipeg had four days where the temperature dipped to –30 degrees Celsius or lower, according to Environment Canada data. The coldest it got last month was –33.8 C, on Feb. 10.

When the polar vortex set in during February it caused temperatures to drop almost six or seven degrees below what they would normally be in February.

"[Let's] put to rest this myth that it is ever too cold to snow," Phillips said.

That cold snap means no melting temperatures for an above-average amount of snow.

February was the snowiest its been in 32 years, said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

This winter in Winnipeg, February was the snowiest it's been in 32 years, with about 43 centimetres of snow sitting on the ground.

But hope is in sight, as the shift from February into March has one of the biggest temperature changes — although Phillips expects that March will be a little cooler than normal. Winnipeg's daily average temperature in March averages around –6 degrees Celsius, according to data from Environment Canada.

Shivering Manitobans may hope for higher temperatures to come post-haste, but Phillips said that might not be for the best.

"You want to ease into this because of the potential for flooding. And I think that's what we're going to see. You have to be patient," Phillips said.

"What you want is maple syrup … melting during the day and freezing at night to get rid of it, so it doesn't become standing water instantly."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said Winnipeg had four days this winter where the temperature dipped to –30 degrees Celsius. In fact, there were four days in the month of February where the temperature hit below –30.
    Mar 02, 2019 9:46 AM CT

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