January is historically the coldest month of the year in southern Manitoba, but the first nine days of 2023 have been a far cry from what is considered normal.
According to Environment Canada, the normal high for our region is around -12 degrees. Yet, if you look at the seven-day forecast, it's difficult to find an overnight low dipping that cool.
Natalie Hasell is a Meteorologist with Environment Canada. She says we have been benefiting from a number of low-pressure systems that have travelled well to our north for an extended period of time. With the low tracking so far north, this allows warm air from the south and the southwest to make its way into our area.
The weather we have experienced through the first nine days of 2023 is considerably different from what we felt a year ago. From January 1st thru January 11th last year (based on data from Environment Canada's Gretna weather station), our average daytime high was around -16.2 degrees, while our average overnight low was -27.8 degrees. By comparison, thru January 10th this year, our average daytime high has been -10.1 degrees, while our average overnight low has been -17.0 degrees.
Even our precipitation is lagging behind the standard set in January of last year. For the entire month of January 2022, southern Manitoba had about 27 centimetres of snow. So far this year, we have not even topped one centimetre.
According to Hasell, Environment Canad is calling for the milder-than-normal weather to last at least seven more days in this part of the province. She notes the North American Ensemble Forecast System is showing that the following seven days will also be milder than normal for most of our province.
"So, it's going to be with us for quite a while," she adds.
However, the temperature does not tell the whole story for the next week. Hasell says some of their models are pointing towards what could be an Alberta Clipper hitting southern Manitoba this coming weekend.
"And it could bring us some rather messy weather by the time we get to Saturday night or Sunday," she adds.
Hasell says an Alberta Clipper generally brings about five to 10 centimetres of snow, however, it is not necessarily the snow that will be the most troublesome, if in fact, this system hits us.
"With these temperatures, freezing rain wouldn't be out of the question or freezing drizzle," she explains. "I think messy is the easiest way to describe it. But yes, some kind of significant weather is very likely this weekend."
Having said that, Hasell reminds us that not all of their models are in agreement, and it is still a bit of a question mark as to how exactly the weather this weekend will unfold.