Southern Manitoba’s summer weather is continuing its yo-yo tendencies, shifting from sweat to sweaters.
The turbulent system that brought intense heat and violent storms over the past few days has moved out. In its place is a colder air mass bringing below-normal temperatures.
“It’s almost like weather whiplash. We’re going from extreme hot to seasonably cool conditions,” said Environment Canada forecaster Brad Vrolijk.
Across much of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, the daytime high for Thursday will only be about 20 C.
The normal daytime high for this time of year in Winnipeg is 24 C. Since Sunday, the daytime highs have been between 29 C and 33 C.
But just before that heat rolled in, there had been frost warnings for parts of the south.
Starting Thursday — and for the next several days — the daytime highs are expected to be three or four degrees below normal.
“And pretty unsettled weather — cloudy and scattered showers,” Vrolijk said. “It’s definitely sweater weather in the evenings now.”
Though it will be a little wet, things will be much calmer for the next while.
A punishing windstorm early Wednesday ripped through the southwest, uprooting trees, ripping off roofs, flipping vehicles and toppling farm bins. Winds just west of Winnipeg, in the Portage la Prairie area, reached peaks of 133 km/h.
Later in the day, Mother Nature brought what Vrolijk called Round 2. A series if thunderstorms developed in the late afternoon with some significant hail.
“This is the same system that brought the strong winds. Fortunately, the winds weren’t an issue [in southeastern Manitoba], but we did have some other things,” he said.
Hail as big as golf balls
Nickle-to-quarter-sized hailstones were reported south of Winnipeg in Dufrost, and nickle-sized in Oak Bluff.
“But the winner yesterday, if you can call it that, is Obukowin Lake. They had golf-ball-sized hail,” Vrolijk said.
Obukowin is northeast of Nopiming Provincial Park, almost on the Ontario border. Vrolijk hasn’t heard any reports of damage but it’s a rather isolated area “and I was honestly surprised we got a report from out that way at all.”
As the evening went on, a number of individual storms grew into larger slow-moving lines of thunderstorms. With that, the main threat shifted from hail to rain and flooding, he said.
The major rainfall hit communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, especially around Bissett. Generally, through that region, 50-70 millimetres of rain fell.
Winnipeg’s amount was more like a “happy-for-gardeners type of event,” Vrolijk said, noting the most rain was 17.2 mm at the airport, with 8 mm downtown.
A line of thunderstorms also developed over eastern North Dakota and Minnesota and moved northeastwards into Manitoba.
“This is of concern mainly because we’ve had the flooding in the southeast corner of the province,” Vrolijk said.
Unfortunately, there are no measures for how much rain fell there because the storms avoided every single observing site in that corner of the province, he said.
“The closest we have is Sprague, which got 40 mm overnight,” Vrolijk said. “But it does look like, based on radar, that just west of Sprague and east of Menisino, there could have been two to three times that amount, so potentially over 100 mm.”
Last week, the rural municipality of Stuartburn declared a state of local emergency after torrential rain led to overland flooding and a swollen Rat River.
A total of 93 homes in southeastern Manitoba were put under a precautionary evacuation order as a result.
Earlier this week, the RM of De Salaberry also declared a state of local emergency, with risks of flooding along the Rat River and Joubert Creek.
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