Friday, 31 January 2014

A Frigid January by Modern Standards

     Despite being almost 4 degrees colder than normal, this past January was only tied 51st coldest since 1872. This highlights how much Januarys have warmed in the past several years. This January paled in comparison to Januarys in the late 1800's when a January like the one we just had would have been considered warmer than normal! However, it was the coldest since 2004 and 4th coldest since the 1980's.

     However, what is impressive this winter is how long the cold is lasting. With an average mean temperature of -20.5°C, this December-January period was the 14th coldest since 1872 and second coldest since 1893/1894. With cold weather expected to continue this February, it will interesting to see how the entire winter will rank...

     There were 12 days below -30°C this January, highest since 2004 when there were 15. Most impressive was 26 days below -20°C, tied 30th most and the most since 1982 when every single day dipped below -20°C.

     A low of -38.0°C on January 5 was the coldest since a -41.7°C reading in February 2007. In addition, the high was a measly -30.2°C for the day, the coldest daily high since January 2004.

     Snow was also a big story with a parade of clipper systems mid month. For 2 weeks, moderate snowfalls and blizzards occurred every couple days.

     Perhaps the most anomalous day was January 15 when a strong clipper system brought a mix of all weather to the Prairies. Record winds occurred in Alberta and Saskatchewan with gusts to 120 km/h in some cases. The winds weren't as strong in Manitoba, but gusts reached 80-100 km/h. Record high temperatures also occurred, including in Winnipeg with a high of 3.3°C. Even thundersnow was reported west of Winnipeg in the evening according to Brad from A Weather Moment, thanks to an unusually unstable atmosphere combined with a vigorous cold front. The high of 3.3°C in Winnipeg was an incredible warmup from a low of -27.4°C the same morning.

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