Winnipeg walloped by above-average snowfall – CBC.ca

The snow that walloped Winnipeg this week put the city at nearly double its usual amount of snow for this time of year, Environment Canada says.

winnipeg winter 2022 february traffic cars vehicles snow

Vehicles drive through downtown Winnipeg during a blizzard earlier this week. The city has seen an unusually high amount of snow this year. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The snow that walloped Winnipeg this week put the city at nearly double its usual amount of snow for this time of year, Environment Canada says.

“We’re way above normal,” said metereologist David Baggaley.

Typically, the city will have seen on average 92.4 centimetres of snow by this point. But right now, that number is at 156.6, he said.

“So not quite double, but pretty close,” Baggaley said.

Above average snowfalls have hit most of the southern Prairies this winter, though it’s still too early to say whether the region is on track to have the snowiest winter ever.

“We’ve got a ways to go for that. We’re getting into the springtime weather patterns, and just about anything could happen then,” Baggaley said. 

But the current snowfall in Winnipeg this year has already established itself as the third highest seasonal snowfall on record up to Feb. 20, retired Environment Canada meteorologist and weather historian Rob Paola said on Twitter.

Seasonal snowfall in Winnipeg as of Feb 20 now up to a whopping 156.6 cm. If we look at Winnipeg snowfall records, that would be the 3rd highest seasonal snowfall on record up to Feb 20th, and is even outpacing the snowy winter of 1996-97 to this point #MBstorm pic.twitter.com/IAReefc0eN

@robsobs

All that snow has left streets, sidewalks and bike lanes buried, and one organization hoping to change the priority order of plowing in the city.

“We love this city. We love the winter,” said Anders Swanson, executive director of the Winnipeg Trails Association, which has lobbied for years to have sidewalks and bike trails cleared immediately after a snowfall to help those with mobility difficulties get around.

“Winter is something we should be looking forward to, whether we’re in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller or using a kicksled. And right now, it’s been set up so that [driving] is your only choice.”

While the extra snow helps make up for the extremely dry summer Manitoba saw in 2021, even the farmers hit hardest by that drought should hope things don’t warm up too quickly, Baggaley said.

“All we can hope for at this point is a slow melt, because of course, the concern would be flooding if we did get a very quick melt with all the snow on the ground,” he said.

“We can just be hopeful that we have a nice little melt and the moisture gets into the soil, which is what they want, as opposed to a big flood that runs off.”

And the giant piles of snow aren’t the only unusual feature of this winter — temperatures are also below normal, Baggaley said. That trend will likely continue for the rest of the week, with extreme cold warnings already issued for many parts of the province.

“We started off quite mild, actually — but when it hit, it hit with a vengeance,” he said.

It’s also too early to say whether the below-normal temperatures will last through the rest of the winter. But one thing is certain, Baggaley said.

“This is the Prairies and it is winter. So in the long sense, it is almost near normal for us — not that extraordinary,” he said.

“The message of the day would be just watch out for that extreme cold. It’s going to be brutally cold tonight and Monday morning, and again, it’s a cold spell that’s going to be lasting for several days. So we’ve just got to bundle up.”