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Nice weather expected to give way to cold

Weather forecast for coming months calls for colder, wetter weather

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 06:00 am

TURNING NICE – Lisette Turcotte of St. Albert navigates a turn while cross country skiing at Kingswood Park on Sunday.
TURNING NICE – Lisette Turcotte of St. Albert navigates a turn while cross country skiing at Kingswood Park on Sunday.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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In case you’ve already come to accept the warmer, thawing temperatures outside, don’t get too used to them, said a local meteorologist.

Dan Kulak with Environment Canada in Edmonton said despite this week’s warm spell, the forecast for the next three months anticipates below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.

That means it’ll likely be colder and wetter than usual.

“It doesn’t mean it will be ten degrees below normal,” said Kulak. “Really, with below normal it can be 10 degrees below normal but it can maybe only be two degrees below normal and still be classified as below normal.”

Kulak said meteorologists create the weather forecast based on data from the past 30 years. They look at the 10 coldest years, the 10 warmest years, and the 10 years in the middle, he said, and then compare them with the weather today.

The average temperature for January is a high of minus eight, and a low of minus 18, he said. In March, temperatures move to above zero, with daytime highs of one or two degrees and a low at night of minus eight.

Unusual warm spells, as seen this week, are created when warm air moves in from the Pacific Ocean across British Columbia, he said. Cold air is created by winds moving in from across the northern, arctic regions where there is not much sunlight and lots of ice, he said.

“In the mid-part of winter, February, it tends to be drier because the cold air is across us and the warm air is much further south,” he said. “And in the spring the days get longer and the warm air starts to come back north and we get more snow in March and April.”

In November and December of 2013, the region received almost 2.5 times more snow than in other years, he added.

The weather station at the Edmonton International Airport counted 100 centimetres of snow since November, while Stony Plain had 149 centimetres. On average, he said, the two stations get about 118 cm and 132 cm throughout the entire year.

For the coming months, he expects the region will continue to receive about 20 centimetres more snow than on average.

For this week, the weather is forecasted to remain sunny, with a high of ten degrees on Saturday, and highs between zero to six degrees on all other days. How long that warm spell will last, Kulak couldn't say.

“If you like the mid-winter thaw, then this is your week,” he said.


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