Retired and loving it. If I'd have known about retirement befor I started my 40 year career with the government of Manitoba I'd have retired first. :)
By: plapman, 12:24 PM GMT on March 31, 2009
Today will be cloudy with periods of light snow beginning late this afternoon. The wind will become northerly at 20 km/h (12 mph) late this afternoon. A high 1C(34F) is forecast.
Tonight will se periods of snow with 2 cm(0.8 in) accumulating. The wind will start from the north at 20 km/h (12 mph) then becoming light near midnight. An overnight low of -3C(26F) is expected.
Spring must be here. Abby got her first gopher yesterday on our walk. The critter didn't last long, a couple of shakes and it was over.
Back to work today after a 6 month retirement. It's back to the same building as before just a different office doing the same job. It's one way to get away from the queen's spring cleaning.
Flood Watch Continues For Southern Manitoba
The latest flood forecast was released yesterday, and things are still looking good for the Portage area. Senior Flood Forecaster Alf Warkentin notes, the Assiniboine is still looking relatively safe. He notes, there will be an increase in run-off once temperatures rise above zero. Warkentin says run-off is on hold in the Interlake, adding it was already half finished when temperatures dipped back below freezing. He says this means the area can expect localized flooding as soon as temperatures begin to rise.
Updated: 12:56 PM GMT on April 01, 2009
By: plapman, 1:18 PM GMT on March 30, 2009
Today will be sunny with cloudy periods and a high 3C(37F).
Tonight will bring cloudy periods and an overnight low of -10C(14F).
Me and Abby have been getting out for walks since its warmed up again. The bunnies seem to be moving about more too. She has had a couple of chases that have ended in frustration for her agin. lol The snow is soft again and she sinks to her belly.
Updated: 12:22 PM GMT on March 31, 2009
By: plapman, 2:34 PM GMT on March 29, 2009
Today will be sunny with cloudy periods and a high near -1C(30F).
Tonight will remain clear with an overnight low of -11C(12F).
The Queen of the Prairie has gone into spring cleaning mode. She keeps pointing at my stuff and saying it has to go while I looks at her junk and see its the main clutter.
In the end a few truckloads of stuff will leave.
Updated: 1:18 PM GMT on March 30, 2009
By: plapman, 2:02 PM GMT on March 27, 2009
Today will be sunny with a high of -8C(17F).
Tonight will remain clear with an overnight low of -19C(-2F).
I took Abby out for a short walk yesterday. I was going to go further than I did but blowing snow caused me to turn around and head home. Abby enjoyed it even if she did'nt get free free range time. Today it looks alot better with a sunny sky and light winds.
Updated: 2:33 PM GMT on March 29, 2009
By: plapman, 2:05 PM GMT on March 26, 2009
Today will see periods of snow ending late this afternoon then cloudy. Another 2 to 4 cm(0.8 to 1.6 in) is expected. A north wind at 30 km/h (19 mph) will cause local blowing snow. A high of -6C(21F) is expected.
Tonight will finally see clearing this evening as the north wind at 30 km/h (19 mph) becomesing light this evening. An overnight low of -21C(-6F) is forecast.
Updated: 2:02 PM GMT on March 27, 2009
By: plapman, 12:53 PM GMT on March 25, 2009
Today will bring more snow and blowing snow with 5 to 10 cm(2.0 to 3.9 in). Th wind will be from the north at 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph) as the temperature remains steady near -8C(17F).
Tonight, more snow, with another 2 to 4 cm(0.8 to 1.6 in). The wind, northerly at 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph) Then becoming northwest 20 km/h (12 mph) near midnight, will cause local blowing snow this evening. An overnight low of -10C is forecast.
It looks like Abby and me are snowbound again. We never made it out yesterday. The daughter has camped her as roads have hindered her effort to return home.
Winter storm warning for
Portage la Prairie - Headingley - Brunkild - Carman continued
Snow and blowing snow today.
This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions...Listen for updated statements.
A Colorado low in central Minnesota is maintaining an area of snow over southern Manitoba and much of North Dakota and Minnesota. The heaviest area of snow will be just east of Brandon all the way to the Ontario border. The northward extent will be up to Gimli and southward all the way through North Dakota. In addition to yesterdays snowfall, further accumulations today will range from 5 to 10 cm today. Snow will linger tonight with another 2 to 4 cm possible. Conditions should improve by Thursday morning.
In addition to the snow, strong north winds will also give blowing snow and poor to near zero visibilities to many areas especially in the Red River Valley.
============================================================ An updated flood forecast
March 23, 2009
UPDATED FLOOD INFORMATION ISSUED FOR RED RIVER VALLEY INCLUDING PLANS FOR POTENTIAL RING DIKE CLOSURES, RESULTING EVACUATIONS
– – –
Indications Continue to Show Flood of 1979 Magnitude Likely
Spring Flood Outlook:
Manitoba Water Stewardship’s Hydrologic Forecast centre reports the flood forecast for the Red River Valley in southern Manitoba remains somewhat uncertain due to a storm system expected to affect the watershed over the next three days. However, indications are a flood of a 1979 magnitude is likely along the Red in Manitoba. The crest is expected at Emerson from April 5 to 10 and at Winnipeg from April 12 to 17.
The first part of the current storm produced 40 to 65 millimetres (1.6 to 2.6 inches) of rain over portions of western Manitoba from Souris to Dauphin yesterday but produced only five to 10 mm (0.2 to 0.4 in.) over the Red River Valley in southern Manitoba. The North Dakota portion of the Red River watershed received five to 10 mm (0.2 to 0.4 in.) and some areas in the Minnesota portion received 40 mm (1.6 in.). This first part of the storm produced less rain over the Red River basin than expected.
The next portion of the storm, expected to move slowly northward over Minnesota in the next few days, is expected to produce 25 to 50 mm (one to two in.) of rain from Grand Forks to Winnipeg and 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1.2 in.) from Wahpeton to Grand Forks. Colder weather with sub-zero temperatures and snow is expected to develop in southern Manitoba by Wednesday. This will last until the end of the week and is expected to slow down run-off as water becomes frozen in fields.
The chance of a 1997-magnitude flood in the Manitoba portion is still about 10 per cent. This has not changed from the previous flood outlook as the unfavourable weather scenario for that outlook had assumed the heavy precipitation now forecast. Anticipated peak stages in the Manitoba portion are somewhat less relative to 1997 than at U.S. points due to lower run-off potential on Manitoba tributaries.
Peak stage forecasts for the Red River will now be updated daily. Forecasts will become more reliable as additional information becomes available on actual run-off and weather conditions.
The heavy precipitation in western Manitoba yesterday increased the potential for flooding on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers and in the Westman region. Some localized overland flooding has already been reported. This will subside during the next few days due to colder weather, but is predicted to start again when the weather warms next weekend.
Additional heavy precipitation is expected over the Souris and Pembina river watersheds during the next few days, further increasing the flood potential in these areas. Specific updated forecasts for rivers in western Manitoba will be provided later this week in conjunction with daily reports and flood sheets.
The latest outlooks and reports can be found at:
Flood Liaison Offices:
Tomorrow, two flood liaison offices will open to provide information to residents of the Red River Valley. Flood liaison officers will provide flood-related information to residents including details on existing flood-protection levels, current forecasted flood levels and the status of community ring dike closures. For information on obtaining sand-bagging materials, residents are asked to contact their rural municipality.
The provincial flood liaison offices will be open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. until the current flood risk is over. The offices are at:
· 871 Southwood Rd, in Morris, 204-746-7325, and
· 200 Saulteaux Cres. in Winnipeg, 204-945-2354.
Red River Valley Preparations:
· Local communities in the Red River Valley, the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization and Manitoba Water Stewardship are finalizing plans for flood response.
· Two full closures of ring dikes are anticipated at Riverside (approximately 55 people) and Roseau River (approximately 800 people.) Evacuation plans are being considered and finalized for these communities, if required. Planning would be co-ordinated through the RM of Morris for Riverside and the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters for the community of Roseau River.
· To date, 11 communities have been identified for potential partial ring dike closures during the flood period. With partial ring dike closures, full community evacuations are not anticipated. It is currently anticipated that there will be alternative routes in and out of these communities. They are Aubigny, Brunkild, Dominion City, Emerson, Gretna, Letellier, Morris, Rosenort, St. Adolphe, Ste. Agathe, and St. Jean Baptiste.
· Planning is underway for limiting travel or closing certain highways and provincial roads as water levels rise. Of particular note, parts of PTH 75 are expected to be limited to traffic and then closed in the coming weeks.
· Motorists are reminded to:
- Respect road barriers that are set up to manage traffic flow safely.
- Water levels can change rapidly – roads will have barriers only if there is potential risk to motorists.
- Driving on a closed road is a risk to individuals and to emergency personnel who may have to respond to any incidents.
Updated: 2:05 PM GMT on March 26, 2009
By: plapman, 1:03 PM GMT on March 24, 2009
Today will bring heavy snow at times and Snow mixed with freezing rain this morning and with ice pellets this afternoon. The snow and ice pellet amount 10 to 15 cm(3.9 to 5.8 in). The wind will be from the north at 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph) as the temperature falls to -8C(17F) this afternoon.
Tonight will see more snow at times mixed with ice pellets with another 5 to 10 cm(2.0 to 3.9 in) accumulating. the wind will continue northerly at 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph). An overnight low of -9C(15F) is forecast.
Winter storm warning for
Portage la Prairie - Headingley - Brunkild - Carman
Heavy snow and local freezing rain.
This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions...Listen for updated statements.
A Colorado low located over South Dakota this morning is pushing precipitation into southern Manitoba today. Much of the precipitation will begin as rain in southeastern regions and turn slowly to snow during the morning. Over southwestern Manitoba, cooler temperature should allow this precipitation to fall as snow. A narrow band of freezing rain may also set up near the rain-snow boundary over south-central Manitoba. As well ice pellets may be mixed at times with the snow this afternoon.
Rain is expected to change over to snow this morning in Winnipeg and overnight in the southeast corner.
Rainfall amounts will be significant for this time of year, especially given the current flooding concerns. 20 to 40 mm are expected for areas southeast of Winnipeg with the highest amounts likely near the american border. After the changeover to snow, a further 5 to 15 cm of snow are likely with snowfall amounts diminishing as you go southeast from Winnipeg. Snow over southern Manitoba will likely persist through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday, however snowfall rates will gradually diminish with time.
Current indications are that the heaviest snowfall amounts will be from Portage la Prairie southwest to the Turtle Mountains where totals may range from 20 to 25 cm, then amounts should gradually diminish through the Gimli and Bissett regions. Strong north winds will also give blowing snow and poor visibilities to many areas.
Updated: 12:51 PM GMT on March 25, 2009
By: plapman, 12:46 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
Today will se periods of drizzle along with fog patches early this morning. The winds will be from the southeast at 30 km/h (19 mph) becoming light this morning. A high of 8C(46F) is forecast.
Tonight will see periods of drizzle changing to snow overnight. The rainfall amount of 5 mm(0.2 in) is expected. Fog patches. The wind will swing to the north at 30 km/h (19 mph) near midnight. An overnight low of -1C(30F) is expected.
It looks like the praires are in for a bit more snow. There's a winter storm watch for most of Manitoba with up to 6 inches of heavy wet snow forecast.
A complex weather system has developed over the prairies. An initial low in central Manitoba brought the rain to the south overnight as well as heavy snow to northern Manitoba. This system will weaken and be replaced by a second more intense low now in Colorado.
This Colorado low will push northward into the Dakotas tonight and bring a fresh batch of precipitation. Rain will move up the Red River valley tonight, but over southwestern Manitoba the precipitation is expected to be snow. Freezing rain or ice pellets are also likely near the transition between the rain and snow.
Southwestern areas may see 10 to 20 cm of snow by late Tuesday, while regions further southeast may remain as rain. The City of Winnipeg is very close to the rain/snow line and is expected to turn to snow at some point on Tuesday. The precise track of this low will dictate
where the rain to snow line will be as well as where heaviest snowfalls occur, this low is still some distance away and its precise track is still uncertain.
This watch will be updated as new information is gained.
Some regions may require warnings as the low track and band of heaviest snow is better resolved.
A Winter Storm Watch is an alert of the potential development of severe winter weather. Persons in or near these areas should be prepared for developing adverse weather conditions and should listen for updated watches and possible warnings.
Updated: 1:03 PM GMT on March 24, 2009
By: plapman, 3:23 PM GMT on March 22, 2009
Today will bring showers along with the risk of a thunderstorm early this morning. The winds will be from the southeast at 20 km/h (12 mph) increasing to 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph) early this afternoon. A high of 6C(43F) is forecast.
Tonight will see the showers turn to rain with 10 to 15 mm(0.4 to 0.6 in) accumulating. The southeasterly flow at 40 km/h (25 mph) gusting to 60 km/h (37 mph) will continue. The overnight low will be 5C(41F).
I've been lax the last couple of days getting the prairie weather out. I was working on the new flooring and my computer has been acting up. I just did a system restore from a backup I had and it seems to have cured what ailed it for now. Next week I'll find out what my new work schedule will be.
Updated: 12:49 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
By: plapman, 5:57 PM GMT on March 20, 2009
Today will be cloudy with sunny periods and 60% chance of rain showers near noon along with the risk of freezing rain. There will be clearing this afternoon with a southerly wind at 20 km/h (12 mph) becoming light this afternoon. High 3C(37F).
Tonight will bring increasing cloudiness with fog patches developing overnight. Low -4C(24F).
I never got online yesterday at all. I had an early start yesterday and went to Winnipeg for a meeting. I guess I'm no longer retired. I had a short term job offer from mt previous employer and never refused it.
Updated: 3:23 PM GMT on March 22, 2009
By: plapman, 1:04 PM GMT on March 18, 2009
Today will be sunny with cloudy periods. The wind will be from the northwest at 20 km/h. A high of 6 is forecast. Tonight will bring a few clouds and an overnight low of -18.
Updated: 5:56 PM GMT on March 20, 2009
By: plapman, 12:46 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Today will be sunny with a westerly wind at 20 km/h (12 mph) that will become light this afternoon. The temperature will fall to -5C(23F) this morning then rising..
Tonight will remain clear with a northwest wind at 20 km/h (12 mph) that will become light near midnight. An overnight low of -15C(5F) is forecast.
I saw 3 geese yesterday. I guess spring can't be far off. The provincial flood forecast has been leaked and it looks like Manitoba will get some major flooding. I was working in Emerson during the 1979 flood mentioned in the following CBC article. I was part of a team patroling the towns ring dykes.
Manitoba flood forecast calls for 1979 levels
Last Updated: Monday, March 16, 2009 | 3:51 PM CT CBC News
Prepare for the worst and hope against any more major spring snowstorms, say provincial officials who released Manitoba's latest flood report on Monday.
The official flood forecast for Manitoba was scheduled to be released Friday, but officials decided to leak some of it Monday over growing concerns that Manitoba could be hit with the same severe flooding expected south of the border.
Manitoba flood forecasters say even with favourable weather conditions from now through spring, some of the banks along the [Red River] valley will overflow and large portions of land will be under water.
Last week, officials in Grand Forks, N.D., declared a state of emergency after a winter storm dumped 13 centimetres of snow. The soil in the area was already saturated and had flood forecasters predicting high water levels.
Now, forecasters in North Dakota are suggesting the Red River will crest as high as 15 metres, about two metres lower than the flood that devastated the city and much of southern Manitoba in 1997.
The Red River flows north from the United States into Manitoba before emptying into Lake Winnipeg.
That storm has increased Manitoba's flooding risk to the level of the 1979 flood, Alf Warkinton, Manitoba's senior flood forecaster, said Monday.
The 1979 flood is ranked second only to the flood of the century in 1997, which caused $4.4 billion in damage along the Red River valley between Winnipeg and Grand Forks. About 80,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
Manitoba flood forecasters say even with favourable weather conditions from now through spring, some of the banks along the river valley will overflow and large portions of land will be under water.
There will be an access problem to fields for farmers and evacuation orders in some communities are likely.
The communities hardest hit in the last flood were Ste. Agathe, Grande Pointe and Albany. Officials note that all of them have new ring dykes that were not in place in 1997, and there are three million sand bags stockpiled and ready to hold back the tide. Despite the concerns, Ronuk Modha at the Manitoba Floodway Authority insists the province is ready to handle whatever comes this way.
Floodway has proven its worth
The floodway is a 48-kilometre channel between St. Norbert and Lockport, almost as wide as the Red River itself. Designed and built to protect Winnipeg by redirecting water around the city, the floodway was conceived after the devastating 1950 flood.
Between 1968 and 1999, it has saved Winnipeg 20 times, most notably in 1979 and 1997.
But following the 1997 event, officials decided to launch a $600-million-plus expansion project to deepen the channel and increase the level of protection from major floods with a one-in-90-year probability to those with a one-in-700-year probability.
The expansion project, begun in 2005, is near completion.
"As of right now, the floodway's capacity is more than double what it was in 1997, and we anticipate that we will be at the one-in-700-year flood protection level later this spring," Modha said. "But at this point, we have significantly greater flood protection today than we did in 1997."
Updated: 1:04 PM GMT on March 18, 2009
By: plapman, 1:21 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Today will bring increasing cloudiness with a 40% chance of showers early this afternoon. The wind will start southerly at 30 km/h (19 mph) this morning then becoming westerly at 30 km/h (19 mph). A high of 7C(45F) is antisipated.
Tonight will see a increasing cloudiness late this evening. the westerly flow at 30 km/h (19 mph) will become light overnight. An overnight low of -6C(21F) is expected.
============================================================ Plan "B" for the flooring progect is going to be to pour a self leveling subfloor material. I'm going to find some experienced help for that. Then it will be back to plan "A".
Abby got a couple of bunny chases yesterday. The crust has gone off the snow in the warmer temps and she's back to sinking in the snow. The poor dog never learns.
Updated: 12:45 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
By: plapman, 12:50 PM GMT on March 15, 2009
Today will be sunny with the wind becoming southeast at 20 km/h (12 mph) gusting to 40 km/h (25 mph) early this afternoon. A high of 2C(36F) is forecast.
Tonight will bring increasing cloudiness with the wind from the southeast at 20 km/h (12 mph) gusting to 40 km/h (25 mph). An overnight low of -3C(26F) is expected.
Yesterdays flooring episode didn't go as planned. After me laying and relaying the first 2 strips of laminate I gave up. It wouldn't stay together. The queen got hold of friend who installs flooring for a living. It seems the floor is too uneven to use laminate. There are humps 1/2 inch high in spots. The joys of owning an older home! I guess we'll have to find a plan "B".
Updated: 1:16 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
By: plapman, 1:20 PM GMT on March 14, 2009
Today will start sunny with cloudy periods then increasing cloudiness late this afternoon. A high of 1C(34F) is expected.
Tonight will start cloudy then clearing near midnight with an overnight low of -7C(19F).
The Queen of the Prairie has my day planned today. Yesterday she went shopping and bought a bunch of flooring. It appears it's my job to install it. I told her I don't work weekends and she reminded me that since late September I don't get weekends anymore. :(
Updated: 12:49 PM GMT on March 15, 2009
By: plapman, 2:04 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Today will be sunny with cloudy periods. The wind will be westerly at 20 km/h (12 mph) this morning. A high of -1C(30F) is expected.
Tonight will bring cloudy periods then becoming clear overnight. An overnight low of -7C(19F) is forecast.
Updated: 1:19 PM GMT on March 14, 2009
By: plapman, 1:53 PM GMT on March 12, 2009
Today will be sunny with a southerly wind at 20 km/h (12 mph) becoming light this morning. A high of -12C(10F) is expected.The wind chills for the day will be near -38 this morning and -25 this afternoon.
Tonight will be clear with an overnight low of -18C(0F) forecast.
Me and Abby braved the cold ysterday and got a 1 1/2 mile walk in. Today looks like we should be able to get the full winter walk of 3 1/2 miles. The long range forecast is still saying a decent weekend.
Updated: 2:04 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
By: plapman, 4:33 PM GMT on March 11, 2009
Today will be sunny with a nw wind up to 15 km/h (9 mph). A high of -18C(0F) with wind chills in the -32 range is expected.
Tonight will be clear with a wind up to 15 km/h (9 mph). The overnight low is forecast to be near -26C(-15F) with a -34 wind chill.
Updated: 1:53 PM GMT on March 12, 2009
By: plapman, 2:22 PM GMT on March 10, 2009
Today will see increasing cloudiness along with a 60% chance of flurries late this morning and this afternoon. There will be local blowing snow this afternoon as the wind blows from the north at 30 km/h gusting to 50. A high of -19C(-2F) with extreme wind chills in the -43 range is expected.
Tonight will be cloudy as the 60% chance of flurries early this evening continues. There will be clearing this evening along with local blowing snow. The northerly flow will also continue at 30 km/h (19 mph) gusting to 50 km/h (31 mph). An overnight low of -27C(-17F) with wind chill of -38 is forecst.
It doesn't look like me and Abby will get out for our long hike today. I think she's going have to satisfied with a quick trip around the block.
Updated: 4:33 PM GMT on March 11, 2009
By: plapman, 1:42 PM GMT on March 09, 2009
Today will be cloudy with A 60% chance of flurries early this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. The wind will be northerly at 20 km/h (12 mph). A high of -11C(12F) is forecast.
Tonight will see cloudy periods as the northerly flow at 30 km/h (19 mph) becomes light overnight. An overnight low of -25C(-13F) with wind chills -34 range is expected.
When is spring coming?
Another bunny chase for Abby yesterday. I thought I'd lost her. She crossed 2 roads and was out of sight. 10 minutes later though returned running across the fields right back to where she'd left me. 1 whistle put her back on track and the tired dog came back with her tongue hanging out. lol
The daughter was in on the weekend shopping for a new vehicle. Her SUV was written off by the insurance company. It sure doesn't take much to rack up a 10000 damage claim.
It looks like she's going to try the cross-over vehicles. She was complaining about the huge number of models available.
Updated: 2:22 PM GMT on March 10, 2009
By: plapman, 1:42 PM GMT on March 08, 2009
Today will see increasing cloudiness along with a 60% chance of flurries late this afternoon. The wind will be from the south at 30 km/h (19 mph). Today's high will be -6C(21F).
Tonight we'll have periods of light snow ending overnight then cloudy. The southerly flow will become light this evening then shift to the west at 20 km/h (12 mph) near midnight. An overnight low of -12C(10F) is forecast.
Abby got to do a bunny chase yesterday. She managed to flush one out of the brush near a small creek after sniffing around for a couple of minutes. The chase lasted a 1/4 mile till she finally gave up. One day she'll bring me home a meal.
Updated: 1:38 PM GMT on March 09, 2009
By: plapman, 3:21 PM GMT on March 07, 2009
Today will be sunny with a high near -11C(12F).
Tonight will remain clear with a wind up to 15 km/h (9 mph). The overnight low is expected to be near -20C(-4F) with a wind chill of -29.
Updated: 1:42 PM GMT on March 08, 2009
By: plapman, 2:23 PM GMT on March 06, 2009
Today will be cloudy with a 30% chance of flurries this morning with the risk of freezing drizzle. The wind will be westerly at 30 km/h (19 mph) gusting to 50 km/h (31 mph)then becoming north 20 km/h (12 mph) near noon. The swing to the north will cause the temperature to drop to -10C(14F) this afternoon.
Tonight will start cloudy ten clear overnight. A low of -20C(-4F) is forecast.
It looks like the warming trend we've had on the prairie is over as more seasonable temperatures return. It was nice while it lasted but in a few more weeks spring will stay at the prairie.
Updated: 3:20 PM GMT on March 07, 2009
By: plapman, 2:21 PM GMT on March 05, 2009
Today will be cloudy with sunny periods. Fog patches early this morning and a high of 0C(32F) expected.
Tonight will remain cloudy along with a 30% chance of flurries late this evening. There will be clearing overnight as the wind becomes westerly at 20 km/h (12 mph) overnight. An overnight low of -7C(19F) is forecast.
The Vince Li Trial
Accused killer acted 'to save himself'Li was tormented but can recover, psychiatrist says
By: Mike McIntyre (Winnipeg Free Press)
Vincent Li claims voices from God in his head caused him to single out a perfect stranger, stab him multiple times and then decapitate, defile and cannibalize the body in front of dozens of witnesses.
But despite committing one of the most gruesome crimes in Canadian history, Li could one day be rehabilitated and return to society, according to his psychiatrist.
Dr. Stanley Yaren told Li's second-degree murder trial Tuesday that the admitted killer has a very strong chance to recover from the major mental illness and extreme psychosis that triggered last summer's slaying of 22-year-old Tim McLean on board a Greyhound bus. He described Li as an otherwise "decent person" who was suffering from untreated schizophrenia and clearly out of his mind when he believed he was acting on God's commands to eliminate "the force of evil" by attacking the sleeping McLean.
"He was being tormented by auditory hallucinations," said Yaren, who has worked with Li at the Health Sciences Centre psychiatric ward since last August. "He believed Mr. McLean was a force of evil and was about to execute him. He had to act fast, urgently, to save himself. This wasn't an innocent bystander or stranger he chose to kill, but rather an evil force he was commanded to kill."
Yaren, a witness on behalf of the Crown, is the director of forensic psychiatry for both the province and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. He has concluded that Li should be found not criminally responsible for his actions based on his mental state at the time. Such a ruling would send him to a hospital, instead of a prison, for an indefinite period.
Li admits he killed McLean but began his case Tuesday by pleading not guilty by reason of a mental disorder.
"He didn't understand, in my opinion, that he was just killing an innocent bystander. He understood this was the only action he could take," Yaren told Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Scurfield. Once McLean was obviously dead from dozens of stab wounds to the back and chest, Li continued to hear voices demanding he attack the body, he said.
"He was terrified, frightened, tormented. Mr. Li's fear, because of what he was being told through these hallucinated voices, is that what he perceived to be the evil being would come back to life, through some supernatural powers and finish him off. He was in a frenzy to prevent this from happening," said Yaren.
He said Li has been co-operative and made significant strides since being hospitalized and medicated and could function again in the community -- something Yaren admits doesn't sit well with most people, including the victim's family.
"I completely understand the need for a sense of justice, of retribution," said Yaren. "It would be in some sense easier if Mr. Li was an anti-social psychopath with a history of malicious behaviour, but he isn't that. He is, as I've come to know him, a decent person. He is as much a victim of this horrendous illness... as Mr. McLean was a victim. Don't hate the person. Hate the illness."
Yaren conceded Li's actions could not have been predicted, given that he had no prior criminal record or a violent history. Yaren described him as polite, humble and hard-working and not a "monstrous psychopath."
"The man I described, without psychosis, would have had no reason to (kill McLean)," he said.
He said Li began experiencing psychotic episodes around 2003, including a 2005 incident where he was picked up by police walking down Highway 401 in Ontario, believing he was "following the sun" after shedding most of his possessions. He was briefly hospitalized in Etobicoke, Ont., but received no follow-up after refusing to accept he had an illness or take any treatment, court was told.
Yaren said there remains a stigma with mental illness that is difficult to overcome, especially for men.
"Our society as a whole doesn't have a lot of tolerance for people with a severe mental illness," he said. Yaren said Li is slowly beginning to realize what he's done but still doesn't accept the fact he consumed some of McLean's body parts.
"It may be he's blocked it from his consciousness... that it's just too awful for him to contemplate," he said. Yaren believes Li could make a significant recovery in the next few years under rigorous treatment and medication but still continues suffering some delusions, including a belief he will one day be executed.
"He is not 100 per cent out of his psychotic phase yet," he said. "But over time, as he recovers, he will have to come to terms with the awful things that have occurred."
Judge Rules Li Not Criminally Responsible
A Court of Queen's Bench judge has ruled Vincent Li is not criminally responsible for the murder of Tim McLean last summer.
It means Li will remain in a secure mental facility instead of going to jail.
Justice John Scurfield handed down his decision today, after Crown and defense lawyers recommended the action.
Updated: 2:22 PM GMT on March 06, 2009
By: plapman, 2:58 PM GMT on March 04, 2009
Today will bring increasing cloudiness early this morning. as the southerly flow at 20 km/h (12 mph) becomes light this morning. A high of 0C(32F) is forecast.
Tonight will be cloudy then partila clearing this evening with an overnight low of -3C(26F) expected.
Li pleads not guilty
Posted By Dean Pritchard, SUN MEDIA
WINNIPEG — After repeatedly stabbing Tim McLean aboard a Greyhound bus, Vince Li proceeded to defile, dismember and eat parts of his body, a Winnipeg court heard Tuesday morning.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown attorney Joyce Dahlman revealed for the first time horrifying details of McLean's death last July aboard a Winnipeg-bound bus.
Li, wearing a charcoal blazer, shuffled into court flanked by three sheriff's officers. He pleaded not guilty to second degree murder.
Both the Crown and defence agree Li is fit to stand trial. Both sides also agree that Li killed McLean but that he is mentally ill and not criminally responsible.
Dahlman said Li took a seat next to McLean following a stop in Brandon. About 20 kilometres west of Portage la Prairie "Li began to repeatedly stab Tim McLean for no apparent reason," Dahlman said.
"Tim McLean struggled and tried to escape, that is clear because he suffered a number of defensive wounds."
As passengers scrambled to escape the bus, "Li appeared to be preoccupied with Mr. McLean and continued to stab him as he lay on the floor," Dahlman said.
Vincent Li believed the voice of God commanded him to stab and dismember Tim McLean abourd a Greyhound bus, a forensic psychiatrist told court Tuesday morning.
Dr. Stanley Yaren has diagnosed Li as suffering from schizophrenia.
"I believe he was tormented by auditory hallucinations and these took the form of God's voice giving him instructions ... and that he needed to protect himself from evil forces, Yaren said.
Yaren said Li believed he had received a message telling him McLean "was a force of evil that was about to use a knife to execute him."
Yaren said after killing McLean, Li feared he could come back to life.
Li dismembered McLean's body and spread the body parts about the bus "to ensure (McLean) did not come back to life to carry out the execution," Yaren said.
"Having killed him, he was still terrified that through supernatural powers he was capable of coming back to life."
News trucks lined the street outside the courthouse more than two hours before the start of the hearing. Inside, a lineup of 50 people waited more than one hour to enter the courtroom.
Nearly two dozen of McLean's family members and friends filled the back two rows of the courtroom, each wearing T-shirts emblazoned with McLean's picture.
Updated: 2:21 PM GMT on March 05, 2009
By: plapman, 2:07 PM GMT on March 03, 2009
Today will start cloudy then near noon we'll see a mix of sun and cloud. The wind will be southerly at 30 km/h (19 mph) gusting to 50 km/h (31 mph). A high of -3C(26F) is expected.
Tonight will bring cloudy periods as the southerly fow at 30 km/h (19 mph) continues. The temperature will remain steady near -3C(26F) overnight.
Updated: 2:58 PM GMT on March 04, 2009
By: plapman, 3:09 PM GMT on March 02, 2009
Today will start sunny then increasing cloudiness early this afternoon. The wind is from the south at 30 km/h (19 mph) giving a wind chill value of -33 this morning. A high of -10C(14F) is forecast.
Tonight will be cloudy with the southerly flow at 30 km/h (19 mph) that will become light this evening. An overnight low of -11C(12F) is predicted.
Me and Abby got a good walk yesterday and kept the wind to our back in the right places. We met with her friend Pancho but she wasn't nice to him. She snarled at him and went for him, till I called her off and reprimanded her. Then they got along well. She does have a jealous streak a mile wide.
Updated: 2:07 PM GMT on March 03, 2009
By: plapman, 3:41 PM GMT on March 01, 2009
Today will be sunny with cloudy periods and a high -14C(6F).
Tonight a few clouds will remain as the southeast wind at 20 km/h (12 mph) becomes light near midnight. An overnight low of -20C(-4F) with windchills near -28 is forecast.
Updated: 3:09 PM GMT on March 02, 2009