2016 a year of wild fluctuations

Central Alberta weather teased and tortured in 2016.

Unusually warm conditions in February were welcomed by those happy to see winter shortened.

They weren’t cheering the mild winter at Bentley’s Medicine Lodge Ski Area. The nine-run ski hill about 10 km west of the town still didn’t have enough snow in mid-February to open and show off a new run added the previous fall.

In Red Deer, February was so warm that outdoor ice rinks melted weeks ahead of schedule.

Red Deer’s average February temperature was -5.2 C while the normal for the month is -9.1 C. Calgary had its second warmest February ever recorded.

The unusually warm weather had its downsides.

For the fourth year in a row, the Rocky Mountain House Forest Protection Area started up its wildfire preparations a month early. By mid-March, crews were already called in to put out a two-acre fire.

The warmer-than-usual temperatures continued through March, which went into the books as the fourth warmest on record for Red Deer.

Temperatures were almost five degrees above normal. The average temperature for the month was 0.9 C. The normal for Red Deer is -3.7 C.

The warmest March on record was in 1992 with the average temperature being 2.1 C .

The highest temperature recorded in March at the Red Deer Airport was 13 C on March 30 and the lowest daytime high for the month was only -2.2 C on March 22.

But the warm, dry spring had the City of Red Deer urging water conservation because the Red Deer River’s level was well below average and expected to remain low.

On Canada Day, a small twister did some damage in Ponoka.

Overall, July proved a stormy and soggy month in Red Deer, the 19th wettest on record.

Environment Canada said 120.8 mm of rain fell during the month, compared with a 30-year average of 94.4 mm.

May saw 55.6 mm of rain at the Red Deer Airport — normal is 55.4mm. In June, a total of 59.6 mm of rain fell, well below the normal 94mm. Normal numbers are based on weather data collected from 1981 to 2010.

The big weather story of the late summer and early fall was in agriculture.

Many farmers saw a potential bumper year wilt as unco-operative weather stymied harvesting.

Harry Brook, a crop specialist at Stettler’s Alberta Ag-Info Centre, called the fall a “frustrating disappointment” for many producers.

“We had big crops that were looking great, and then the weather turned to crap,” he said in mid-November.

A wet September delayed harvesting only to see temperatures plunge and the snow fly in October. Farmers were scrambling in a mild November to get the last of their crops off.

November has offered a number of days well above zero Celsius, and the record being broken on Tuesday (Nov. 8). The warmest day of the month so far, a fall day turned into a summer day with a high of 22.6C. The previous record was set in 1961 at 13.9C.

Other records set in 2016 were: April 18, highest temperature, 24.8C; May 3, highest temperature, 27.9C; June 7, lowest temperature, -0.7C.

December was another month of wild fluctuations.

Temperatures yo-yoed between too cold, or unusually warm— setting the pattern for what could be the rest of the winter, said Environment Canada.

Just Posted

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hold candlelight vigil

Four-and-a-half years ago Marilyn Rinas’ husband was killed in a collision with… Continue reading

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

Gus is a special, collaborative art exhibit inspired by motherhood

The portrait display by mother and son is showing in Red Deer

Robotics challenge sparks student interest in Red Deer

Student-built robots compete in fun challenge

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month