January thaw: The weather phenomenon coming to save Canada from this cold
After weeks of extreme cold warnings and the “bomb cyclone,” Canadians could use a break from winter weather.
Thankfully, one is in store.
A weather phenomenon dubbed the January thaw — unseasonably warm weather that arrives in the third or fourth week of the month — is set to warm things up in Canada at the end of this month.
Global News meteorologist Ross Hull explains that a January thaw, or a bonspiel thaw, happens in most years during the coldest part of the winter season.
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A thaw can last up to a week, but some years it’s only a couple hours long. It brings with it warmer temperatures — at times even above freezing.
Here’s exactly what the thaw entails, and what Canadians can expect this year:
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Eastern Canada, which is currently reeling from record-setting cold and heavy snow, will get some relief during the thaw, Hull predicts.
“Canadians in that part of the country can expect some relief from this bone-chilling cold for the second half of the month. Temperatures will return to more seasonal values even reaching above the freezing mark at times.”
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While Western Canada’s temperatures have already risen a bit, they will continue to rise as January continues.
“Even though there will still be bouts of cold weather across the Prairies at times this month, I’m not seeing the extreme cold that was in place in late December and early January,” Hull said.
He added that Western Canada will also see some days of above average temperatures.
Global News’ chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell posted a map of the country, indicating that this January thaw will bring warmer temperatures for a couple weeks. He explained that there will be lots of melting snow during this time.
Will winter return with full force?
The January thaw is just a temporary gift for those who need a break — winter will return.
Hull reminds that while a thaw brings warmer temperatures, it is still January in Canada.
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“Keep in mind that even though temperatures will be above average in January, there can still be snow and storms,” he said. “The average high temperature for much of the country in January is below the freezing mark, so even above normal can mean below freezing.”
Cold(er) weather will make a comeback at the end of February and into March, Hull said.
“Don’t expect this thaw to continue for the rest of the winter though. Long-range models are showing more arctic air moving across the country, so you can expect more cold in February and March.”
When’s the dead of winter?
The dead of winter is the coldest part of the year, but it also signals when the worst of the season is over, meaning temperatures will start to warm up afterward. The date varies across Canada.
“The dead of winter would be toward the end of January and early February, when on average there are usually the coldest temperatures in Canada,” Hull said.
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But things are little different this year.
“Some parts of the country may have already experienced the coldest weather they will see all winter — because of the nature of this extreme cold of late,” Hull noted.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.