All over central Alberta, residents have been opening windows in a rare winter chance to air out their homes. Others have indulged in a quick spring cleaning.
While the past two weeks have had unseasonably high temperatures, that all comes to an end this weekend as temperatures are expected to return to the -20 degrees Celsius range.
Environment Canada meteorologist Bill McMurtry said that, “it’s not uncommon to get the January thaw.”
However, he admitted that this thaw, which in some places has shattered high temperature records dating back more than a century, is unusually warm. “
As this system moves on, a cold weather front will come in from the north,” he explained.
Or, in other words, it’s going to get cold again.
While McMurtry said the temperatures aren’t going to be low and bitterly -40 degrees Celsius, it will probably feel like it after the double-digit highs Alberta has been experiencing this week.
“People look back at last January and think it was bitterly cold, but actually it was warmer than this year,” McMurtry said. “The thing is the warm thaw was sandwiched between two cold, snowy fronts.
With the return of cold weather will come snow, though McMurtry said he wasn’t certain exactly how much yet.
One of the positives of the long thaw is that most of the snow has melted away, giving water a chance to run off. That will diminish the amount of ice that forms when temperatures drop, but McMurtry said now’s the time to salt any icy patches, or wet areas that won’t dry up or run off before the freeze returns.
Salt melts ice when temperatures are higher than -10 degrees Celsius.