Manitoba

Winnipeg's mild November smashes 1899 record

In Winnipeg's 144 years of weather records, the city has never had this mild a November, says Environment Canada.

November is warmest on record since officials began recording temperatures in the city in 1872

The warm days are coming to an end in Winnipeg. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

In Winnipeg's 144 years of weather records, the city has never had this mild a November, says Environment Canada.

Although temperatures for the last day of the month have yet to be tallied, the federal weather agency says it's confident there has never been a warmer November in Winnipeg since 1872.

The average temperature this month for Manitoba's capital is 3.2 C.

The next warmest November was in 1899 when the average temperature was 1.3 C.

Weather records began being kept in the 1872 in Winnipeg. This is what Point Douglas in Winnipeg looked like three years later in 1875. (City of Winnipeg archives)

"This is just like a sea change," said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

"For a guy like myself who's been in this business for 50 years it takes a lot to shake me up and what you see certainly in Winnipeg in November is really quite unprecedented."

The warmest day this month was Nov. 9 when the city reached a spring-like high of 18.8 C. and the coldest day was -10.6 on Nov. 19.

In November, only two days were entirely below the freezing mark, normally there are 16 days in the month that are completely below zero, Phillips said.

On top of that, there was very little snow.

The 'Peg feeling like Hogtown

"That's like a Toronto situation not like Winnipeg," said Phillips. "It's almost as if it's a different weather regime."

Other cities in the province also smashed records. Brandon, Emerson, Flin Flon, Portage, Sprague, Swan River, The Pas and Thompson all had their mildest November on record.

Churchill, Dauphin and Morden had their second-warmest November on record.

Most weather records are broken on days, rarely do entire months break records.

"Every day was warmer than normal — it wasn't just a one-day wonder," Phillips said.

And the warm weather wasn't exclusive to Manitoba.

There was one day when 300 temperature records were broken in western Canada stretching from British Columbia up to the Northwest Territories and even into western Ontario, Phillips said.

"It was all this American air, southerly air, there was just no Arctic air at all, it was just missing in action," he said.

More fluke than trend, says Phillips 

The weather is probably not caused by climate change, Phillips said, even though Prairie temperatures have risen one or two degrees over the past 70 years.

"Changes in climate are really over decades if not longer," he said. "This comes into the category of flukish."

With climate change, Phillips said we may see more warm Novembers in the future but 2016 will likely stay an outlier for a long time.

"No one who is alive in Winnipeg has ever gone through a kind of November that they've seen this year," he said.

"It's going to be hard to break this record."

with files from Sarah Penton

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