Winnipeg shovels out from snowiest February in 32 years

Your aching back — and the head-high piles of snow it has helped shovel — have likely already told you that this winter has dumped a lot on Winnipeg.

Winnipeg has been hit with 96.8 cm of snow this winter

Snowbanks are growing in Winnipeg with all of the snow this February. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Your aching back — and the head-high piles of snow it has helped shovel — have likely already told you that this winter has dumped a lot on Winnipeg.

In fact, this is already the snowiest February in the city in 32 years and the month is only halfway done.

In just two weeks, 29.4 centimetres of snow has come down, said Rob Paola, a retired Environment Canada meteorologist who lives in the Charleswood area and measures snowfall amounts.

Typically, February is the driest month in Winnipeg, with an average of 12.5 cm of snow. Last year, the city recorded just 6.6 cm.

The snowiest February saw 42.2 cm in 1987.

Winnipeg received 12-18 centimetres of snow during a storm on Feb. 4, while other parts of the province saw up to 25 cm. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

It's unlikely Winnipeg will reach that mark this month, however. There's little snowfall in the forecast for at least the next five days, CBC meteorologist John Sauder said.

There could be some flurries on Sunday and holiday Monday but only enough dusting for a centimeter, he said.

Overall, Winnipeg has been hit with 96.8 cm of snow this winter season, which has prompted grumbles and a lot of anecdotal stories about it being the most snow the city has seen in decades. Not so, Sauder said.

"Maybe it seems like this is the most snow we've had in years because we have had to shovel a lot in February, but it's only a little above average so far," he said.

The snowiest month is March and that's still to come. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

"I think it looks like a lot because none of it has melted. Two years ago, we had a lot more snow overall, but there were a couple of epic melts during the season.

"So the perception of that winter may be different than the reality."

The average snowfall total for a Winnipeg winter is 113 cm. This year is far from even getting a sniff at the most snow in the past 10 years.

  • 2008-09 — 126.4 cm.
  • 2009-10 — 80 cm.
  • 2010-11 — 149.8 cm.
  • 2011-12 — 80.8 cm.
  • 2012-13 — 176.6 cm.
  • 2013-14 — 159.6 cm.
  • 2014-15 — 82.1 cm.
  • 2015-16 — 123.2 cm.
  • 2016-17 — 131.4 cm.
  • 2017-18 — 84.2 cm.
  • 2018-19 — 96.8 cm (so far).

That said, the snowiest month is March. That's still to come.


Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories. He is the author of award-nominated and bestselling The Lesser Known: A History of Oddities from the Heart of the Continent.


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