It was a wacky weather day for Westman.
After starting out yesterday morning with temperatures in the -20s, the mercury soared above the melting mark, possibly as high as about 5 C by early afternoon. However, it didn’t feel like it — wind gusts of 70-90 km/h kept the chill on.
Environment Canada even warned that there was the risk of a thunderstorm late in the day, due to an unusually unsettled system that was pushing through the province. Heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions were expected late yesterday in the Red River Valley.
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. yesterday reported a high temperature of 4.1 C, and temperatures dropped after that.
However, the Weather Network said that temperatures in Brandon had reached 5 C at 2 p.m., although the wind chill was -2 C. (Despite the negative number, the way that wind chill is calculated means that water will not freeze, it will just cool down to 5 C slightly faster than if there was no wind.)
A temperature of 5 C might — or might not — be enough to break a record for the warmest Jan. 15 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 4.4 C 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 5.6 C.
If that’s not enough confusion, an electronic sign on Rosser Avenue downtown yesterday showed the temperature topping 6 C.
Today is forecast to be quite a bit cooler, although temperatures as high as -3 C are expected to return tomorrow and over the weekend.