April 9, 2019: Cold

The weather here in Kenora was good enough to go flying yesterday, but weather in the places we wanted to go was bad, with fog and freezing drizzle. Even if we had taken off, the cloud was too low for taking photographs.

Today we woke up to cold weather and little snow flurries. As I write this, in the late afternoon, the temperature has not risen above -4ºC. Worse, although we will see thawing daytime temperatures in the coming days, overnight lows are expected to remain cold for the rest of the week.

I heard from my friend Sean, who graphs the mean daily temperatures with an eye to making informed predictions, and he’s not sure we’ve reached the inflection point yet. That’s the date when our mean daily temperature rises above freezing on a lasting basis. It was looking like we might have managed this a few days ago, but if we have a run of cold days, the lasting part won’t hold up and we’ll have to wait a little longer.

Now, on to some fresh pictures. These are not in the order I took them, but we can start with the Norman to Keewatin waterfront.This is looking south over the lake, with Keewatin’s iconic bridge at the right in the middle distance. Remember, you can click on any of these images to see them full-screen, and click on that larger picture to see them at maximum resolution. What you might want to zoom in on here is the water beyond the bridge, where the weekend rain has weakened the ice between Safety Bay and Keewatin Channel.

The water in the foreground is Palmerston Channel, I believe. Darlington bay is almost hidden because the clouds kept us rather low today, obliging us to take pictures at a low angle.

Let’s look at the Winnipeg River next.This picture is centred on Laurenson’s Island, and looks roughly west with Locke Bay stretching away off to the left. There’s lots of open water in the main channel, but last nights sprinkling of snow has covered the ice in the quieter bays, making it hard to assess the quality of ice there.

Further north, this is what things look like at the Little Dalles.This picture looks north. Way off on the horizon, you can see Big Sand lake.

To finish, a couple of shots from further south on the lake. First, the Barrier Islands.A snow flurry blurred this picture, but this is the state of the open water around The Elbow. We’re facing west. Allie Island is on the left of centre*, Mather Island to the right. Bald Island is at the bottom left, and part of Queer Island is at the lower right corner. Most of the dark patches here are just cloud shadows, but the two bluer ones are water.

*I’ve set my spell-checker to Canadian English.

This last picture is of Whitefish Narrows.Yellow Girl Bay dominates the foreground, Long Bay spans the middle, and beyond that you can see a little water at Whitefish Narrows slightly to the right of centre. Again, a layer of fresh snow makes it hard to judge the ice.

As for the fourteen day forecast, it looks as if we have at least another few days of disappointing temperatures. A normal high this time of year is about 9ºC (and rising steadily), but I see nothing warmer than 7ºC coming our way in the next two weeks.  Overnight lows could run at or slightly above normal, but the daytime highs don’t look encouraging.

I’m not scheduled to fly tomorrow, so I might take a look at my archived pictures from previous years to see how this spring compares to better and worse thaws.




5 thoughts on “April 9, 2019: Cold

    • Didn’t get a clear shot of that area yesterday, but last time I looked, there was only a small finger of water extending south from Keewatin Channel towards Town Island, right around Billygoat. Once Keewatin Channel hooks up with Safety Bay, the stretch to Scotty follows soon after. I’ll be watching this area closely when things start to move.

  1. You have commented on the air temperatures in Kenora and how they seem to be holding below normal. I quote from an article I read recently: “Snow cover, or lack of it, can have a dramatic effect upon temperatures. For example when there is no snow on the ground at La Crosse, WI, the January daily average temperatures are 11.2 degrees warmer than when there is snow on ground.” OK, so let’s make that 5 degrees C.

    Looks like temps will not return to normal until the ground becomes snow free. As we all locals know, there remains a fair amount of snow cover in the area, and that snow is really dense, more like ice than snow. There are still 5 cm of snow at the Kenora airport according to their data for yesterday. At the beginning of the month we had 8 cm at the airport, so the snow melt rate is really slow this year. Last year on this date there were 12 cm of snow on the ground and it took 10 days to become snow free.

    So what does this mean for LOW ice out. Well I calculated last year that it is 27 days on average from no snow cover at the airport to ice out on LOW. Given the short term forecast, it seems unlikely that the airport will be snow free until this weekend at the earliest. At this time of year those 5 degrees might mean refreezing overnight, which delays melting a great deal. Last year it took some double digit temps to finally get to snow free at the airport, and that, according to the forecast seems highly unlikely in the near future. But let us be optimistic and say the airport is going to be snow free this Sunday. 27 days from Sunday is May 11. Hate to say it, but this year sure looks a lot like last year, you called ice out on the 14th, right?

    One caveat though. Last year the temps got into double digits almost every day by about the 19th of April. No sign of that happening this year according to the long term forecast, sigh…..looks like another late breakup, probably after the (optimistic) May 11th cited above.

  2. Looks like there’s a pile of snow on the way for northern MN in the next couple of days, which means we won’t be able to borrow any heat from there until that melts either.

  3. A couple of quick comments. First, I did a graph of last date of snow at the airport, inflection date and ice out date for the period from 2007 to 2018. Two things jumped out at me. First, the inflection date is almost always before the snow cover at the airport free date. Since have not yet called the inflection date, there is another data point confirming the late spring hypothesis (unfortunately).

    Secondly, when you plot the trend line during this period, there is a slight but distinct upward trend, indicating that ice out is coming slightly earlier each year, notwithstanding the year to year variation. Climate change?

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