Warmest spring ‘in quite while’ sends temperatures soaring to new heights

A burst of early spring heat broke through local temperature records on the weekend. On Sunday, the mercury hit 18C at Red Deer Regional Airport.

George Munn works on his chipping while his son Rob lines up a drive on the River Bend Golf Course driving range Monday. Spring’s arrival has golfers getting out their sticks in readiness for the season’s start.

George Munn works on his chipping while his son Rob lines up a drive on the River Bend Golf Course driving range Monday. Spring’s arrival has golfers getting out their sticks in readiness for the season’s start.

A burst of early spring heat broke through local temperature records on the weekend.

On Sunday, the mercury hit 18C at Red Deer Regional Airport. The previous high for March 28, taken from records dating back to 1953, was 15.9C. That was set in 1981.

However, Environment Canada meteorologist David Wray explained that because the temperature record for March 29 is 17.4C — Monday’s high missed the mark at 16.7C — Sunday’s record was “probably due to be broken.”

Wray said it’s been the warmest spring “in quite a while” in the southern part of the province, and that 100-year-old record highs were recently topped in Lethbridge.

“We’re looking at 10 or 11 degrees above normal for this time of year, so (it’s) quite a significant departure,” he said.

“The reason for that is we’ve been looking at a fairly good warm air mass, a weak ridge of high pressure pushing up over Southern Alberta from the northern states. It’s been keeping things quite dry and warm.”

Wray said a cooling off could be expected today and that by Thursday, temperatures would be back down to seasonal norms of 8C highs in the day and -4C lows overnight.

“We’re not expecting much in the way of precipitation,” Wray added.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com