This month might be going out with a blast of chilly winter air, but it will still go down in the record books as the warmest February in 32 years.
David Phillips is the chief meteorologist for Environment Canada, and he says when you consider the temperatures over the whole winter, the weather picture is even more dramatic.
“In fact it would be the second warmest or the warmest winter in 85 years,” he said.
From September to February, El Nino has dominated the weather with consistently milder than normal temperatures.
On Friday, Regina beat a record set back in 1932.
“Clearly winter has been missing in action across southern Saskatchewan, so I’m sure people aren’t going to feel somewhat done-in if winter returns with a little bit of vengeance,” Phillips said.
He won’t rule out a few spring snowstorms, but unlike most winters where snow sticks around from Halloween to the end of April, any snowfall now will likely be gone in a day. He commented that farmers are probably wishing for spring snow. Normally the prairies will get 29 per cent of the yearly snowfall after March 1. That would amount to about 29 centimetres or 11.4 inches.
“My advice is don’t put away the snow shovel, don’t take off the snow tires just yet, don’t be seduced into thinking that this is the year that winter is canceled,” he warned. “There’s still time for mother nature to give you a wallop.”
On an average year, there would be just a few days of teasing spring-like temperatures mixed in with longer cold spells. Right now the reverse seems to be happening, with more warm spells than cold days.
“The models indicate that March and April and May look like they are going to be warmer than normal,” he said.
Phillips said the first week in March will be a good indication of weather patterns we can expect for the rest of the month, swinging from a low of -12 C on Monday and 0 with a rough wind chill on Tuesday, up to a possible high of 6 C by the end of the week.
“In less than a week your temperatures will be back up there into the stratosphere where they are close to 10 degrees warmer than normal,” he said. “So this yo-yo kind of effect is likely to continue.”
Normal highs are about -4 C.