So far this month, at least 14 major weather stations in Alberta have recorded their lowest-ever March temperatures. I’m not talking about daily records; I mean they’ve recorded the lowest temperatures they’ve ever seen in the entire month of March since temperatures began being recorded in Alberta in the 1880s.
This past Tuesday, Edmonton International Airport reported an overnight low of -41.5 C, smashing the previous March low of -29.4 C set in 1975. Records just don’t fall by that much, but the airport’s did. Records are usually broken fractions of degrees. The International’s was exceeded by 12 degrees.
To give you an example of how huge is the difference between the old record and the new, if Edmonton were to exceed its highest-ever summer temperature by the same amount, the high here some July day would have to reach 50 C. That’s a Saudi Arabia-like temperature.
Also on the same day, Lloydminster hit -35.2 C, breaking its old March record of -29.2 C. Fort McMurray — where they know cold — broke a record set in 1950 with a reading of -39.9C. And Cold Lake, Slave Lake, Whitecourt, Peace River, High Level, Jasper and Banff, and a handful of other communities obliterated old cold values, most from the 1950s or 1970s, two of the coldest decades on record in the province.
This has been an especially cold winter across the country, with values returning to levels not often seen since the 1970s, which was an especially brutal decade of winters.
Temperatures began to plummet on the Prairies in December. The cold weather did not hit much of the rest of the country until January, but when it hit, it hit hard. Even against Canada’s normally frigid January standards, “this particular cold snap is noteworthy,” Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said this past January. Many regions across the country had not been as cold for 30 years or more, he added.
I pity those poor bastards in Edmonton when Earth Day comes around--Saturday, March 28. Last year there was cold and snow--outdoor events (naturally, to deplore global warning and train kids in things they can do to slow it) had to be cancelled. God knows what's in store this year.