The first day of winter on Wednesday brings with the promise that the brutally cold temperatures and windchill Red Deer has endured for much of December will be kinder and gentler as Christmas and New Year’s approach.
Also, as of Thursday when winter commences, the diminishing daylight pattern ends and the minuscule but steady advance toward longer daylight begins.
The winter solstice, which arrives at 3:44 a.m. in Red Deer on Wednesday, is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The sun will rise at 8:43 a.m. and set at 4:25 p.m. Then behold Thursday when Red Deer gains 0:05 seconds of daylight. On Dec. 31, in just 10 days, the gain will be a whole one minute and five seconds.
Environment Canada meteorologist Kirk Torneby said Tuesday that the weather for Red Deer is much improved over last week, and while there is a bit of a cooling trend ahead, it won’t be drastic like what’s occurred earlier this month.
It seemed like the much below normal temperatures would never end with minimum temperatures hitting below -20C most days.
The coldest temperature so far in December was on Saturday at -29.8C. Then finally the westerly winds came to the rescue, pushing out a large entrenched arctic ridge overnight Saturday, putting the city and area into above zero temperatures on Sunday when Red Deer reached a high of 1.6C.
The next week to 14 days looks it will be a little colder than normal highs of about -6C. Daytime highs of -10C to -14C are expected, Torneby said.
There’s a bit of uncertainly regarding snowfall because of a system passing through the northern States and how far northward it will move. On Saturday Red Deer could see between a trace of snow to up to five cms. However the system is moving further southward so chances of snow are starting to diminish, he said.
For those travelling to Eastern Canada, above normal conditions are expected and there are no extreme systems that will be “havoc-causing,” he said.
For anyone heading to the West Coast, there’s a bit of snow forecast in the mountains but nothing overly significant, Torneby said.