It may come as little surprise that January in Southern Manitoba ended up being colder than normal.
David Phillips with Environment Canada says if you crunch all the highs and lows from last month, the average temperature was -18.8 degrees. A typical January will have an average temperature of -16.6 degrees.
According to Phillips there were 11 days last month that the mercury dipped below -30 degrees. In an average January, there are 6 of those days.
Phillips points out it wasn't necessarily that the overnight lows were so cold last month, but rather the daytime highs. In fact, Steinbach had only 16 days last month when the temperature fell below -20 degrees when normally there are 18 of those days.
"When it was cold, it was really cold," he says.
Yet, Phillips cautions against comparing January of 2019 to that of 2014.
"2014 is still the grand-daddy one of them all and that was even more brutal," he says.
Even though the end of January this year saw temperatures hovering around -40 degrees, Phillips points out that at the beginning of the month the snow was actually melting.
So, what is in store for February? Phillips says he wishes an early spring was in the cards, but he says their models show the cold is not leaving anytime soon.
"Sometimes the cold that sets in, it's like molasses," he describes. "It just hugs in every nook and cranny, it's thick and dense, it's hard to kick it out and our models are showing that we think that there are more days with cold."
Phillips is forecasting the month of February will be colder than normal. Yet, he says he doesn't think this winter will drag on longer than most. And, Phillips says he does not expect to see the same extreme cold in February as was felt in January. Further to that, he notes by February, we gain nearly two and a half minutes of sunshine each day, adding the sun is getting higher in the sky and producing heat already.
You may recall back in late November, Environment Canada suggested the second half of our winter could be milder than the first half as the result of an expected El Nino. Phillips says the El Nino is not very strong.
"It's been a weak episode," he says. "Certainly in other parts of the world, it's influenced them but not really got up here into the high north."