With the warm weather the Valley has experienced in the last few days it’s clear that spring is well on its way. But, despite the recent warmer than average temperatures, the remainder of the season is expected to be average.
“The challenge with your forecast for seasons of transition spring and fall – are that, by nature, they are so changeable and don’t hold patterns for an extended period of time,” said Weather Network Meteorologist Doug Gillham.
“All of Manitoba, including your region, is looking at temperatures near normal for spring. Normal, is temperatures increasing by two degrees each week but, in saying this, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have temperatures at your normal every single day.”
The time of year and the Valley’s geographic location means that swings in temperature are always expected.
“Periods of warmer than normal weather will be offset by periods of cooler than normal weather in a way that will be pretty close to being balanced,” Gillham said. “For example, March started off much colder than normal but the pattern has switched and it is expected to end much warmer than normal.
“Looking back through the last four springs really highlights how variable your region can be from year-to-year and even month-to-month. Last year you had a mild March, followed by a cold April and then a warm May. This year’s April is looking warmer than last, but, May might not be as much. In the end, the final average will probably be comparable.”
Precipitation amounts are also expected to fall near normal, compared to 2015 when the Valley experienced significantly lower than normal numbers.
“The southern prairies are expected to be a little higher than normal but it’s arbitrary at where you draw the line between south and north,” said Gillham. “We don’t foresee widespread drought being a problem this season but some areas will be wetter than others depending on how the storms track.
“The area did have an interesting winter, in that there were profound periods of cold offset by profound periods of warmth. But, the snow cover earlier in the winter season was also not impressive and will hopefully offset the wet fall.”
Looking ahead to the summer is done with a lower confidence this year than others but Gillham is predicting comparable weather to last year.
“It’s not looking exceptionally warm but should have adequate precipitation,” he concluded. “This could change though as the spring proceeds.”
The Manitoba government issued their March flood outlook last Friday (March 24) and, while the risk of overland flooding has been slightly reduced since February, it still remains a moderate to major across the province.
The potential for spring runoff is generally normal to above normal throughout all watersheds with the Swan Valley area labeled at the moderate level.
“That area went into the fall very wet but winter precipitation was near normal, said Manitoba Infrastructure Hydrologic Forecaster Fisaha Unduche.
“Most of the flooding in that area is due to ice jams so it’s very hard to predict when and if an ice jam is going to happen and how high the water will go.”