Wednesday, 1 January 2014

December Deep Freeze Fitting End to Coldest Year in Almost 2 Decades

     With an average mean temperature of -20.9°C, December 2013 goes down as the 6th coldest December since 1872. That's over 7 degrees below normal! It is the coldest December since 2000 and the 2nd coldest December since 1893. The top 7 coldest Decembers are as follows:

Average Dec mean °C

     Only 1 daily record was broken this month; a -37.3°C low on December 15 broke the old record of -37.2°C in 1879 for the day. However, even more impressive was that this was the coldest temperature for so early in the season since 1893 when we dipped to -39.4°C on December 10.

     The coldest day of the month was the very last day on December 31. The low of -37.9°C was the coldest temperature in December since 1933 when we dipped to -41.1°C on December 28! It was even colder in other parts of southern Manitoba with lows of -41.2°C in Wasagaming, -40.8°C in Roblin and -38.7°C in Brandon.

     Out east in northern Ontario, it was a similar story. On December 31, Thunder Bay dipped to -39.6°C, its coldest December temperature on record since records there began in 1941. In addition, a minimum wind chill of -50.5 was the lowest wind chill ever recorded in December in Thunder Bay since 1941. Old record was -49.7 on December 31, 1967.

     Now that 2013 is only a memory, most people will probably remember 2013 as a cold year. This would be true when compared to the modern average. Here's the yearly stats for 2013 in Winnipeg:

     Although only tied 33rd coldest since 1873, 2013 was the coldest year since 1996. However, because the vast majority of our cold years were in the 1800's, 2013 tied 11th coldest year in a century (since 1913). Now you begin to realise why 2013 was cold compared to modern standards.

     The second main story of 2013 was the snowfall. With 168.2 cm of snow, it was the snowiest year since 2004 and 22nd snowiest since 1873.


  1. Notes: snowfall data from Charleswood. I consider the rainfall amount estimated due to poor data from the airport.

  2. Thanks for the summary JJ.. here's' hoping for a warmer 2014!

    1. Thanks Rob, I sure hope 2014 is less harsh as well! A few more local storm chases would be nice!

  3. Looking back on this now, I bet nobody had any idea that 2014 would be even worse. I loved the cold those years though.