Winter in Calgary came in like a lamb, out like a lion

A beautiful winter day in Calgary. Tiffany Gibbons/Submitted

This past winter season in Calgary started off warm, and the mild, fall-like temperatures stretched throughout December and January.

Unfortunately, winter’s icy grip took hold of the city in February, with bone-chilling temperatures that stretched the entire month.

Because of the elongated cold snap, and despite the warm start to the season, winter 2018/19 ended up being a total of 6 C colder than what the city is used to.

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Not only did February bring a deep freeze to Calgary, but it also brought the bulk of the winter snowfall.

It pushed the season’s snowfall totals up to 46 cm, which is 13 cm more snow than usual for the city.

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Meteorologists study winter as the three coldest months of the year; December, January and February.

December 2018: warm + dry

To start off the first month of the meteorological winter season, Calgary had the biggest snowfall of the season with a whopping seven cm falling on December 1.

The rest of the month went on pleasantly, with 20 days of highs above 0 C.

December finished off around 3 C warmer than seasonal, and although 15 cm of snow fell, it was still two cm less than usual.

READ MORE: Smoke, snow, and the hottest day ever: Calgary’s top 5 weather stories of 2018

A beautiful winter day in Calgary. This photo was taken by Murray Cotton on December 13, 2018. Murray Cotton/Submitted

January 2019: warm + dry

January followed in December’s footsteps, once again recording 20 days of highs above 0 C.

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In fact, a new record high was set on Jan. 26 when the mercury rose to a balmy 14 C.

That boosted the monthly mean temperature to three C above normal.

What should the snowiest month of the winter season, was significantly drier than normal.

Only 10 cm of snow fell throughout the month, ending with five cm less snowfall than usual.

A stunning shot of Calgary with the Bow River in the foreground. This photo was captured by Murray Cotton on the evening of January 17, 2019. Murray Cotton/Submitted

READ MORE: Calgary has longest cold stretch in 21 years

February 2019: very cold + very snowy

February was the turning point, as cold arctic air and snowy weather moved in.

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Temperatures stayed below freezing for the entire month — except for one hour on Feb. 22.

February was colder than normal each day and ended 13 C below the monthly average.

On Feb. 10, Calgary felt its coldest with a wind chill of -42, and two days later, the coldest temperature was recorded at a frigid -30 C.

Not only was Calgary dealing with a deep freeze, but it also snowed 25 of the 28 days in February — totalling 35 cm of snow.

That’s 20 cm more snow and 17 extra days of snowfall than the city is used to.

READ MORE: Calgary’s cold February the worst in 69 years

It was so cold in Calgary that steaming, hot noodles froze outside. Courtesy: Jonathan Scholes

This year, the spring equinox falls on March 20, but the beginning of the spring season for meteorologists starts before that, on March 1.

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March started off cold, but a shift in the jet stream brought a drastic warm up, with double-digit temperatures throughout the middle of the month.


Luckily, much of Alberta can expect above seasonal daytime highs for the rest of March and into April.

The forecast below was released by Environment Canada on March 14 and it shows a high probability for above normal temperatures for the next 28 days.

The monthly temperature forecast shows a high probability of above normal temperatures for northern andsouthern Alberta.
The monthly temperature forecast shows a high probability of above normal temperatures for northern andsouthern Alberta. Environment Canada

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