Snow clearing started early in Red Deer this year, but temperatures have been largely above average in recent weeks. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer weather milder than usual, but cold is the way

With typical temperature fluctuations

Winter has been mostly kind to Red Deer, but expect the usual reminders that it’s still Canada.

Kyle Fougere, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said winter has been warmer on average.

“We’ve been mostly hanging around normal, or slightly above normal, so far for this winter. There will be cold snaps from time to time over the next couple of months. It is still winter. But generally, it is going to be above average,” Fougere said.

He said November was slightly warmer than usual. December was quite a bit warmer than average, and the first week of January was also warmer.

“Unfortunately, in the middle of next week, we do have a ridge of high pressure moving into Alberta from the Northwest Territories that will bring down an Arctic air mass, so it will get quite a bit colder.”

He said by Thursday, the high could drop to -15 C, with an overnight low in the -20s.

“It is going to be cold. It’s just a matter of will the worst of it hit northern Alberta, then slide into Saskatchewan, or will it come farther south to the middle and southern parts of Alberta?”

But Fougere said Red Deerians will be able to shed some layers on Saturday before temperatures drop. The normal for this time of year is a high of -8 C and it should reach about -2 C.

Adam Loria, EMS public education officer with Alberta Health Services, said paramedics have responded to a number of slips and falls around the province with the temperature fluctuations.

“When we have this milder, warmer weather during the day, and that thawing or melting, and then you have temperatures below zero and that freeze, then you throw a dusting of snow on that, it does cause quite a hazard in the community,” Loria said.

“We do get quite a number of quite serious fractures or broken bones, strains and sprains, all the way down to minor issues. It could be life-lasting injury if you break a hip or sustain injury to your femur.”

He advised people to wear proper footwear with anti-slip soles and ankle support, walk with their arms and hands free to brace themselves in case of a fall, and to walk like a penguin.

“(Penguins) live on ice. They don’t fall very often. Bend your knees, lower your centre of gravity, and just take some short shuffle-like steps,” Loria said.

Fougere said Red Deerians have already made it through December, which is the second coldest month. January is the coldest month, and February comes in third.

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