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Brandon unofficially breaks weather record

It's been a wacky weather day for Westman.

After starting out the morning with temperatures in the -20s, the mercury has soared above the melting mark, possibly as high as about 5ºC by early afternoon. It could get even warmer, too, although it won't feel like it — wind gusts of up to 90 km/h will keep the chill on.

Environment Canada says there even remains the risk of a thunderstorm later today, as an unusually unsettled system continues to move through the province.

Wind and snow reduced visibility at the Winnipeg airport enough that some flights were diverted to Brandon.

The Environment Canada station there was offline for a few hours in the middle of the day, but at 3 p.m. reported a temperature of 4.1ºC, and temperatures dropped after that.

However, the Weather Network said that temperatures in Brandon had reached 5ºC at 2 p.m., although the wind chill was -2. (Despite the negative number, the way that wind chill is calculated means that water will not freeze, it will just cool down to 5ºC slightly faster than if there was no wind.)

A temperature of 5ºC might — or might not — be enough to break a record for the warmest Jan. 15th on record.

Official Environment Canada records show that the warmest temperature recorded on a Jan. 15 was in 1973, when the thermometer topped out at 4.4ºC at the official weather station, at the airport. Data from there goes back to the early 1940s.

However, another weather station at the Agricultural Research Centre has data going back to the late 1800s. They agree that 1973 was the warmest Jan. 15 in all that time, but they recorded that top temperature as 5.6ºC.

If that's not enough confusion, an electronic sign downtown showed the temperature topping 6ºC.

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