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January was warmer, drier than normal in Red Deer

First week of February to be warm
The first week of February will be warmer than normal, but expect temperatures to drop as the month continues, says Environment Canada and Climate Change. (Black Press file photo)

Despite a cold end to January, the first month of 2023 was warmer and drier than normal.

“It started off well above normal and ended well below normal,” said Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“We had a dramatic shift in the weather right around Christmas – December had been cold and became well above normal around Christmas. That persisted right through the first three weeks of January.”

An Arctic air flooded over the province right at the end of January, causing well below-normal temperatures, said Fougere.

“But that wasn’t enough to change the stats too much,” he explained.

“The mean temperature was -8.4 C, compared to a normal of -11.6 C. It was just over three degrees warmer than normal on average, which makes it the 16th warmest January in 105 years of data.”

The Environment Canada and Climate Change site at the Red Deer Regional Airport had some outages in regards to reading precipitation levels throughout January, Fougere noted.

“Using the Lacombe station and some other stations around, it seems there was about five millimetres of precipitation in January, which is quite a bit drier than normal. The average is about 16 millimetres for the Red Deer area,” he said, adding this was the seventh driest January on record.

“Typically March is the snowiest month in Red Deer. There are still some winter conditions possible. We’re certainly not done with the winter yet in Red Deer. It was a drier month, but that doesn’t mean that will continue.”

The upcoming forecast indicates the first week of February will be warm.

“We do have some warmer air that has flooded over the province. A normal (temperature) this time of year is a high of -4 C and a low of -16 C in Red Deer. We’re looking at temperatures just above the freezing mark for the next week,” said Fougere.

But that is just the first week of the month, Fougere stressed.

“Next week we’re expecting it to return to a more normal (temperature) for this time of year. Early indications are that the end of February will probably end up colder than normal,” he said.

“We’re fortunate to have a warmer-than-normal start, but that doesn’t necessarily mean when we look back at the month of February that it will be warmer than normal. It is definitely possible for us to have more Arctic air to flow over the province, which is typical for this time of year.”

Fougere said there are things people can do to protect themselves when the temperatures drop.

“You try to limit your exposure (to extreme cold) as much as possible,” he said.

“If you’re going to be travelling in extreme cold, try to have an emergency kit in your car with things like warm blankets, candles and matches, just in case something should happen during your travels.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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