Skip to main content

Winnipeg has not recorded a positive temperature since Valentine's Day. Here is how long the cold could last


Manitobans waiting for the temperature to warm up this spring will have to wait a little longer.

Several high and low-pressure systems heading south into Manitoba have resulted in below seasonal temperatures in the province, and a reprieve is not expected right away.

“We don't have anything to stop the cold air from coming down. There's no topography or mountains or anything like that, that can block that air," said Natalie Hassell, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

"So unfortunately, when the flow is from the north of the Northwest, as it often is, we get these very cold conditions."

Hassell said this particular March weather is unusual.

“We don’t keep stats for the length of time where a temperature hasn’t reached a particular threshold, but we have the number of days we typically see,” Hassell said.

“In Winnipeg in March, using the 1989 to 2010 Canadian climate normals, March has about half the month reaching temperatures above zero. Maybe not a lot above zero, but still reaching above zero. The fact we haven’t had any in Winnipeg this year is remarkable.”

Hassell said the last time a March in Winnipeg did not record a temperature above zero degrees was in 1899.

Winnipeg has not had a positive temperature reported since Valentine’s Day this year. Hassell says a brief break from the cold is expected this week, but the temperature will still be below average for this time of year.

“We're still going to stay below normal even well into April,” she said. “It will probably be until the middle of April at the earliest before we see actual normal conditions in Winnipeg.”


Jay Doering, a civil engineering professor at the University of Manitoba, says a later snow melt typically means a larger peak for flooding.

“What we see happening is that things just kind of keep going sideways, and then all of a sudden it jumps up to the to the temperature that would be appropriate for that particular point in time. And when it does that, you miss the opportunity to incrementally sort of work your way up and get a gradual melt,” he said. “So you go from freezing, and all of a sudden now you've got relatively warm temperatures.”

Doering adds despite the potential of a later melt, he doesn’t see it having a big impact on forecasted flooding in Manitoba this year.

“At this point in time, we're not seeing that conveyor belt of back-to-back low-pressure systems that dealt so much precipitation last year,” he said.

“In fact, if anything, what we've seen is that conveyor belt seems to be a little bit further to the south.”

-With files from CTV’s Mason DePatie Top Stories

Stay Connected