January proved to be the exact opposite of glacial, snow-laden December.
Balmy temperatures almost rose into the double digits last month — thermostats hit 9C on three different days — temporarily defrosting the permafrost and giving us an all too brief taste of spring.
It wasn’t long before all the slush froze over again, wreaking havoc on motorists and pedestrians, but Environment Canada meteorologist Dan Kulak said January was still significantly warmer than usual.
The month had an average daily high of -1C and an average nightly low of -14.4, creating a mean temperature of -7.6.
“The daytime was about four degrees higher than normal,” said Kulak.
He noted that the usual mean temperature for January in Red Deer is -10C, derived from blending the average high of -4.5 with the average low of -16.
This means last month was “significantly above normal,” he added.
But it was slightly below normal for precipitation.
While last November and December had about three times the typical snowfall for those months — a whopping 109.9 cm compared to the average of 36 cm — January saw only 20 cm fall. This is below the month’s usual 22 cm.
Kulak said Central Alberta tends to get most moisture in the spring and fall. “February is typically the driest month … you get wet falls and things dry up in the mid-winter.”
As far as predicting how the rest of the winter will turn out, Environment Canada’s three-month temperature forecast indicates a cooling trend.
“Cool weather will be continuing,” said Kulak, who added February, March and April are expected to be below normal.
Temperatures are already heading in that direction, with a high of -21C predicted for today, -20C for Wednesday, -11C for Thursday, and the week’s warmest high of -10 for Friday — before a chillier weekend.