March arriving like a lamb
A warmer and drier February is leading into a lamb-like start to March, but the end of winter and snow isn’t coming that quickly for Central Alberta.
February was, on average, 3.4 degrees warmer than the normal for this time of year.
Dave Phillips, Environment Canada senior climatologist, said the average temperature for February is -10C, but Red Deer this year averaged -6.6C for the month.
As well there was less snow then normal with three cms as opposed to the normal of 12.5 cms.
“It really was a much milder than normal month than you would have expected,” said Phillips.
“There shouldn’t have been a lot of complaining because there were a number of occasions, the warmest temperature I saw was on Feb. 15 when it got up to 8.3C.”
The coldest point of the month was a few days later when on Feb. 22 the temperature dropped to -19.6C.
Prior to February, Red Deer had experienced a milder January, -9.8C for 2013 as opposed to the normal of -13.2C.
In contrast snowfall totals were up with the area receiving 10 cms more than normal that month.
Phillips said Red Deer received the bulk of its winter weather in December when temperatures were below average, -15C was the month’s average in 2012 while the norm would be -11C.
“We know winter hasn’t been long,” said Phillips. “It may have begun early, but the toughest part of winter was before January.
“My sense is it won’t be the longest winter on record, it may have started early, but it hasn’t been tough.”
But winter hasn’t left yet and if historical weather is any indication there should be more snow ahead.
“Typically after the first of March you see in Red Deer about 35 cms of snow,” said Phillips.
“About 30 per cent of your average snowfall occurs after the first of March, so don’t be seduced into thinking it’s over.”
Red Deerians can expect some mild conditions heading into the first few days of March as well, with today’s high of 6C and Saturday forecast to hit 6C as well. “Seven degrees warmer than normal for the daytime high,” said Phillips.
“-5 for a low, and normally this time of year it would be a low of -12.
“This is going to be a rather balmy beginning to March, nothing to roar about, it will just bah in.”
But Phillips said there is no statistical credence to the ‘in like a lamb out like a lion’ idiom.