It’s a relatively rare occasion for what Environment Canada defines as a “Perfect Christmas” to occur. Of course, the weather agency is taking this from the perspective of the weather happening on a specific December 25th.
“It was apparent for a very long time we were going to have a white Christmas right across Southern Manitoba,” said CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. “But to have a have a perfect Christmas, from that forecast perspective, takes a little bit of extra weather magic.”
What is a “Perfect Christmas”? According to Environment Canada that’s 2cm of snow, or more, on the ground Christmas morning, and snow in the air sometime Christmas Day… and it needs to be more than flakes, it needs to be measurable. Based on data collected form 1955 to 2007, Brandon has a 28% chance in any given year, while Winnipeg only has an 11% chance.
“With an Alberta clipper diving through the province today into the Dakotas and Minnesota, it’s very likely from the Red River west to the Saskatchewan border we’ll see that perfect Christmas,” said Sumner.
Snowfall Warnings are in place for the Melita, Virden, Boissevain, Souris and Turtle Mountain Provincial Parks areas in far southwestern Manitoba. That Alberta clipper will bring 10-15 cm of snow to southwest Manitoba today, accompanied by localized blowing snow. The snow will taper off late in the day in those regions. Lesser amounts are expected further east.
“Snow has been falling in that part of the province since the early morning hours of Christmas Day, and will throughout much of the day,” he explained. “As the low pressure system tracks across the region, it will also bring some light snow to the western Red River Valley and Manitoba escarpment regions. At this point, I expect 5cms or less, with Southeastern Manitoba, east of the Red River, potentially not even seeing a flake today.”
Winds will remain light in the Red River Valley, but as the low moves out of Southwestern Manitoba, gusty south-easterlies up to 50km/h will shift to north-easterlies gusting to 40km/h. Sumner noted, for those travelling west, blowing snow will be something to keep in mind as you get closer to the Saskatchewan border, especially west of Highway 10.
Today’s picture perfect Christmas, will be the first of several expected snowfall chance during the final week of 2022.
“Monday night, Tuesday night into Wednesday and potentially Friday all could see minor disturbances bring a few centimeters of snow to portions of Southern Manitoba,” noted Sumner. “At this point, we’re not expecting significant accumulations with any of them, but you add all three up, and by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around on Saturday, the region could have seen another 5 to 10cms from all three events combined.”
And after a more than a week of very cold temperatures, we’ll see a return to seasonal and even above average temperatures this week, according to Sumner.
“It will be brief, but we will see temperatures get above average for this time of year on Tuesday and Wednesday as warm, moist Pacific air crosses the Prairies, and pushes highs Tuesday and Wednesday to the -3 to -6 range,” said Sumner. “There is some disagreement between the forecast models whether the warmer conditions will last into the back half of the week, but even if they don’t, we can expect much warmer temperatures than the previous five to seven days leading up to Christmas weekend.”
Average daytime highs for this time of year are -11, with overnight lows of -20.