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OUR WINTER... SO FAR


It's never dull when you're talking about the Weather in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Winter so far as certainly been interesting. A bit of a slow start again this year, however for Winter lovers, January more than made up for a quiet December. Our 7-10 day Arctic blast to end January was certainly a frosty one and the Storm train is now rolling full steam ahead here into February. We've had cold air and snow... it's been real 'Winter' for most of us.
 
Here's a quick breakdown of how things have played out so far.
 
ST. JOHN'S
December was another warmer than normal (+1.9°) month across the Metro region, helping to cap 2012, which was the warmest year on record. December was quiet here in the East. Snowfall was limited to a few cm here and there, with the exception of a 20-25 cm Storm in the middle of the month. Snowfall finished about 25 cm below average. A 30 mm shot of Rain on Tibs Eve, all but washed away our Snow for Christmas.
 
As we all know, January brought with it our HUGE 50-60 cm blizzard and also a very cold shot of Arctic air, but not until the end of the month. From January 1st-21st, our average High was actually above zero (+0.6°). However to end the month our high was closer to -5°, not including our 10° warm up on the 31st. Based on the 1971-2000 average, January finished just slightly (+0.2°) above normal. Snowfall ended the month at 111 cm, which is 30 cm above average, again mainly thanks to our (official) 52 cm.

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Amazing picture taken Jan 28th in Bay Roberts, courtesy of Margaret Ayad.
  
St. John's Numbers
December: Avg High: +2.11°, Avg Temp: -0.32° / Rain: 100.2 mm, Snow: 36.3 cm
January: Avg High: -0.95°, Avg Temp: -4.58° / Rain: 64.6 mm, Snow: 111.1 cm
 
GANDER
Temperatures averaged +2.5° warmer than normal in December, but just slightly above average (+0.4°) in January at YQX. If there's one thing that stands out for Central Newfoundland, it's your lack of Snowfall. Just over 100 cm for December-January is near 70 cm below average. Just 3 times over the past 2 months have your received a 10 cm shot of Snow or more. Warm air and rain to end January and again here in early February hasn't helped the Snow situation. This photo was taken on Feb 6th in New Wes Valley. Thanks to Don Sturge!  

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Gander Numbers
December: Avg High: +0.65°, Avg Temp -1.72° / Rain: 44.8 mm, Snow 54.2 cm 
January: Avg High: -3.11°, Avg Temp: -6.97° / Rain: 15.2 mm, Snow 50.8 cm
 
DEER LAKE
Again, December was warm on the West Coast, averaging +2.7° above normal. January was still warm at +1.7° above average. Snow wise it was a bit of a slow start to December, with just 75 cm. However, since late December and into January the Snow Squall machine has been in full force this Winter, plus a few solid storms, including the West Coast Storm after Christmas. At the Deer Lake Airport, Snowfall totals were average in January, so you now only about 25 cm below average. However, I'm thinking closer to Corner Brook and areas more exposed to Snow Squalls are were likely above average in January.

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The Church in Wiltondale on the Great Northern Peninsula. Picture courtesy of Rod Morgan. 

Deer Lake Numbers
December: Avg High: +0.82°, Avg Temp: -2.71°, Rain 45 mm, Snow 75.8 cm
January: Avg High: -3.75°, Avg Temp: -7.23°, Rain 17.6 mm, Snow 103 cm
 
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY
December was also warm in Central Labrador. In Happy Valley-Goose Bay temperatures were +4.6° warmer than normal, while January was +1.7°. The warmer than normal temperatures in December certainly didn't hurt the Snowfall totals. 115 cm in December was more than 30 cm above average and enough to put a solid snow base on the ground. At YYR, there has been 30 cm of Snow or more on the ground since December 10th and 70 cm or more since December 31st. Snowfall in January was quiet with just 2 systems dropping 10 cm or more. However, you've made up for that to start February!

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Picture courtesy of Melissa Morgan in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

HV-GB Numbers
December: Avg High: -5.3°, Avg Temp: -9.3° / Rain 2.6 mm, Snow 115.8 cm
January: Avg High: -11.7°, Avg Temp: -16.4° / Rain 7.0 mm, Snow 45.6 cm
 
LABRADOR CITY
Labrador West was warm in December too, with temperatures averaging +3.8° warmer than average. January finished +1.5° above average. A little bit of Snow most days bumped your Snow totals up 86 cm in December, which is slightly above average. In January there was only 1 day when it didn't Snow in Labrador City, as a result, you picked up a whopping 131 cm of Snow! That's 50 cm above average and the most Snow in the month of January since 2006!

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Francis Bolger posted this on my Facebook page, to remind me Winter was still full on in Western Labrador!

Wabush Numbers
December: Avg High: -10.9°, Avg Temp: -14.94° / Rain 11.8 mm, Snow 86.6 cm
January: Avg High: -16.24°, Avg Temp: -21.02° / Rain 1.2 mm, Snow 130.8 cm
 
A LOOK AHEAD
All indications are that temperatures will continue above average over the next few months. Environment Canada's Climate models are predicting a warmer than normal February and March for most of Newfoundland, while Labrador is forecast to have near normal temperatures. 

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The long range European forecast model appears to be forecasting the same thing, with warmer than normal temperatures right into early March. Although I know Winter is far from over, I'm thinking our recent 7-8 day blast of Arctic air across the Island in late January, was the worst 'sustained' cold that Newfoundland will see this season. It takes a big Arctic air mass to cool the Island down that much, for that long.
 
But of course this is Newfoundland and Labrador, where the rules never really apply and only time will tell!
 
Ryan

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