Spring is taking its time getting to central Alberta. March was the 13th coldest in 106 years of record-keeping, making pandemic-related self-isolation measures easier to follow. (Advocate file photo).

Cold spring weather makes self-isolation measures easier to follow for central Albertans

March was the 13th coldest on record, says Environment Canada

Mother Nature is giving central Albertans some uncalled for help with their self-isolation measures.

It’s been all too easy to cocoon indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, since this spring is one of the coldest on record for the region.

According to Environment Canada’s records for the area, last month was the 13th coldest out of 106 years of record keeping, said meteorologist Sara Hoffman.

“The daytime average for this time of year is 10 C, and we haven’t reached that normal,” she added.

In fact, Tuesday’s high of 2 C fell eight degrees short of expectations.

The rest of the week ahead looks even worse. Hoffman said only Thursday’s forecast of 7 C comes remotely close to normal.

The other days will range from predicted highs of 1 C on Wednesday to -5 C on Saturday.

“Saturday’s temperature will actually be 15 degrees below normal,” said Hoffman.

She considers last month to have been “abnormally cool.”

March’s mean temperature (a combination of the daily high and low ) was -9.1 C, compared to a more normal -3.7 C, while precipitation was just three millimetres below the March average of 19.

Meteorologists are unsure why spring 2020 is turning out to be so knee-knockingly cold in the western Prairies and northeastern B.C.

Hoffman said one theory is that last winter was especially severe over the Beaufort Sea and the northern coast of the Northwest Territories.

“Those cold temperatures froze up the waterways and affected the landscape,” she explained, so the air mass that formed above this frozen terrain is much cooler than usual for this time of year.

She believes this frigid system could be impacting weather further south, because, unlike Eastern Canada, spring is sure taking its time coming out west.

On the bright side, Hoffman admitted, it’s been easier to hole up indoors — which is what health experts have been asking Albertans to do to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even so, she hopes that Red Deer-area residents will take advantage of Thursday’s warming break to get outdoors — while still maintaining a two-metre distance from others.


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