Manitoba weather is notoriously frigid with icy winters, even by Canada’s colder-than-average standards, earning the provincial capital its ‘Winterpeg’ nickname. High pressure air masses from the Arctic make Manitoba’s temperatures plummet as low as -40°F. Northern Manitoba’s daytime winter temperatures hover around -0°F
Summer, on the other hand, can be very hot with temperatures over 86°F thanks to humid and warm Gulf of Mexico breezes in July and August. Environment Canada ranks Manitoba’s skies the sunniest in spring and winter, as well as the clearest all year long. The Red River Valley enjoys between 125 and 135 frost-free days throughout the year.
Tornadoes are southern Manitoba’s biggest summer weather threat. The part of Manitoba situated north of Tornado Alley endured 15 twisters in 2006 and experienced the strongest tornado in Canada’s recorded history in 2007. Northern Manitoba’s summers are shorter, but warm with little precipitation.
Best Time to Visit Manitoba
Visitors unused to cold weather should avoid Manitoba in winter, but those who do brave the province’s frigid temperatures will be rewarded with rock bottom hotel rates. Churchill’s breathtaking Northern Lights and Winnipeg’s toboggan runs can only be enjoyed in winter. Dressing as warmly as possible and checking the weather prior to heading outdoors is highly recommended as Manitoba winter temperatures can vary dramatically during a single day.
Summer is both Manitoba’s hottest and busiest season, but some people may find the humidity and high hotel prices too hot to handle. Spring is a lovely, but short, season when temperatures climb dramatically to just above freezing at the end of May to a pleasantly warm 68°F by June. September is another pleasant season, when trees change colors and temperatures are still comfortably cool instead of unbearably cold. September and October are Churchill’s prime polar bear watching months.