On average, the weather in January felt more like March across southern Saskatchewan.
“Most of the stations are running about two to three degrees above average temperatures for this time of year,” said Terri Lang, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
She says there was only one bad cold snap when temperatures dipped down into the -30 C range, but after all, that would be considered normal for January. In the last week of January, the temperature was above freezing for several days.
“There was just one day that records were hit, and that was Jan. 28. New records were set in Elbow, in Hudson Bay, and in Rosetown and those were for really mild temperatures of course,” she said.
Maple Creek hit 14 C that day, but it wasn’t a record for the southwestern town.
Lang says long-range forecasts show the mild winter weather brought by El Niño will continue for February.
“Of course we’ll always have our colder days and we’ll have our warmer days, it will just sort of average out to be warmer than average,” she said.
On Feb. 2, she says the groundhog won’t likely see his shadow in most places across the province due to cloud cover, so we can keep our fingers crossed for an early spring.
CJME Weather Specialist John Wilson says even if the groundhog does see his shadow, the weather should stay milder than normal for February.
“In any case, six more weeks of winter is pretty much assured around here, but right now it’s a pretty easy winter,” he said.
He says for the most part we shouldn’t be getting payback for the nice weather in January by having to endure a freezing cold February.
“I don’t think we’re going to pay very heavily. There is going to be a pretty good punch of cold coming down a week from now and that will last about a week to 10 days,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, average high daytime temperatures hit about four degrees above normal in January and so did average overnight lows.
“The farmers may pay though, because it continues to be quite dry across the prairies and I expect that to go right through the month,” he said.
He says January was abnormally dry, with only about 5.9 measurable millimetres of snow and rain, which is less than a quarter of an inch. Normal precipitation would be about 14.9 millimetres or just over half an inch.