April weather almost average

After surviving one of the harshest winters on record, Red Deer actually had an almost average April.

After surviving one of the harshest winters on record, Red Deer actually had an almost average April.

According to Environment Canada, though, the average temperature for the city was 2 C colder than average, and there was slightly less precipitation than the 30-year average.

“Two degrees over 30 days, people would feel that, as opposed to one degree, you’d hardly notice it,” said meteorologist David Jones.

“This time of the year you’re in the transition to spring-type weather, so the further we get away from January, the less and less chance there is (of snow), but there is a lot of variability year-to-year, that’s just the nature of the weather.”

Red Deer had an average high of 8.4 C, with an average low of -3.1 C for April. In terms of precipitation, Red Deer had 17.6 mm, almost half of which came on April 23 with 8.4 mm of rain.

Making April seem colder than normal was the large amount of snow still on the ground that was carried over from one of the worst winters on record. Red Deer started the month with 41 cm of the white stuff still on the ground. Through March 31, Red Deer accumulated 194.7 cm of snow, as the city was hit with an abnormally bad November and December as 117 cm fell in those two months, crushing the previous record set in 1924 when 104.9 cm fell in that time.

November alone was the snowiest month ever recorded by Environment Canada since it started collecting data in 1904 for Red Deer with 62.5 cm. The mean for the month is 16.6 cm.

Jones says, however, that it is premature to take this one year and call it a trend or that it suggests weather patterns are changing.

“Weather is one thing, climate is another,” he said. “You’ve got to look over long, long terms to determine and do very sophisticated statistical analysis to determine if and by how much the climate is changing.

“There’s no way to tell if this is a trend. It was cold. We have cold years, we used to have a lot of them, maybe we haven’t had one for a while — it’s weather, it changes from year-to-year.”

We are on tap for a return to cooler temperatures this weekend, with the forecast calling for a high of 2 C on Saturday and the chance for snow from Saturday through Monday, although it is supposed to start to warm up again on Tuesday.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a warmer and lightly drier spring for the Prairies, while the publication says the summer will be slightly warmer and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in late July and early to mid-August.

In typical Alberta style, Jones also says there is no way to predict if the extreme weather will continue into the spring and summer.

“There’s absolutely nothing anyone can tell you of value what the spring or summer is going to be like,” he said. “If we had a super-powerful El Niño going on . . . you might be able to say something about winter precipitation or some other season’s precipitation in certain areas, but otherwise, there’s absolutely nothing anyone can tell you.”

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com