SUNSHINE will turn snow into slush in Winnipeg this weekend — just in time for another storm nearing southern Manitoba with potential to bring more precipitation to a region grappling with cold and wet conditions.
When asked about the prospect of an early winter, Environment Canada meteorologist Eric Dykes said Tuesday: "It depends on your definition."
"If temperatures that are below normal indicate fall going into winter, we’re there. However, we’re going to get that brief reprieve coming into this weekend," Dykes said.
An increase in temperatures this weekend — with a high of 12 C and sunshine forecast for Saturday — will melt most of the snow from the storm that hit Winnipeg during Thanksgiving weekend.
"We are expecting nice sunny skies, above-normal temperatures, which will lend many to think that, no, we’ve got time for fall," Dykes said.
On Oct. 21, however, storm patterns indicate an extreme weather event is approaching the province on the same day Canadians head to the polls. It is still too early to tell if it will bring snow, rain — or anything at all — to Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, Manitoba’s chief flood forecaster said Tuesday the province expects the Red River to peak somewhere between Oct. 20-23 in Winnipeg, with water levels around 16 to 16.3 feet above James Avenue.
The number sat around 15 on Tuesday afternoon.
Following the long weekend, Fisaha Unduche told reporters the province recorded precipitation levels between 50 to 100 millimetres at various spots throughout the province over the past seven days. Most of the precipitation, he said, was snow in the western, central and Interlake areas, and a snow-rain mix in south and southeast Manitoba.
Unduche said there has been some overland flooding in southeast Manitoba, but he doesn’t foresee any community evacuations or road closures becoming necessary.
He also said it is too early to tell if the high water levels will contribute to spring flooding.
"Those six, seven factors that play into spring runoff — including winter precipitation, frost dips, timing of the spring rain, melting — all those factors play," he said, noting high base flow and relatively wet soil are the two factors forecasters can already take into account.
The Red River Floodway was activated for the first time in fall earlier this month.
Dykes and Rob Paola, a retired meteorologist who runs Rob’s Obs, a website tracking weather patterns, predict temperatures to hover slightly below average in the coming weeks.
"I don’t see an early start to winter so far. As long as we get rid of this snow, I think the roads and travel conditions should be typical for this time of year — we just have to keep an eye on that system for early next week," Paola said.
— with files from Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Maggie is a cub reporter who covers every beat in the newsroom. She appreciates alliteration, when newspaper ink stains her fingertips and, more importantly, tips on social and environmental equity issues.
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