Within five days of 2019, we've experienced temperature swings of more than 30 degrees. It has been a pleasant start to the year weather-wise and these harsh weather cycles seem to be the norm for this winter.
David Phillips, a Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada, thinks this up-and-down style of weather patterns could persist for the next few weeks.
"For the rest of winter, we're seeing mixed signals. You haven't finished with winter yet, don't jump to conclusions that winter is over, because it's not even at the halfway point," Phillips noted. "Although the back-and-forth, the yo-yo kind of weather that we've had may be the personality or the character for the rest of the winter. I think the variability is a sign of the warmer world. I don't think we're going to become the 'Miami of the North,' but I think we're going to start seeing some more wild swings — almost jokers in the weather deck."
He says the warm weather has broken up the winter so far and made it feel much shorter than it has already been.
Despite our recent heat wave, a majority of the last few months have been below average.
"The fall was very disappointingly cool. September, October and November were actually below normal and December, when we crunch all the numbers, temperatures came out to be a little above normal," Phillips said. "It was one of the coldest starts to the year and now it's like a heat wave and we've seen temperatures that should typically be -11° this time of year. Not 3° or 4°. It's absolutely balmy by prairie standards."
Phillips and Environment Canada agree we shouldn't get too adjusted to this warm weather. After all, the hot-and-cold weather cycle isn't great for infrastructure.
"There are going to be days of warm and melting weather but then it cools and freezes at the same time," he said. "That kind of melting/thawing is not necessarily good for roads or soil. It tends to crack it with a lot of contraction and expansion. Creates a lot of potholes. I call it maple syrup kind of weather, warm during the day and then freezing overnight."
The forecast for the next week sees temperatures still above seasonal and hovering around zero degrees.