With fuel prices lower than normal, Maritimers also benefitted from a milder than normal month of January, with mean temperatures about 2C above normal. For the most part, milder than normal minimum temperatures were responsible (for example, in Halifax the January average high was -0.9C compared to a normal of -1.3C; but the average low temperature was -7.8C compared to the normal -10.4C).
Even though average temperatures were above normal, rainfall was below normal. In fact, snowfall was above normal in Nova Scotia as a couple of Nor’easters affected that province. Snowfall would have been much higher had the big blizzard moved a bit further north. Snow amounts were however below normal in New Brunswick and pretty close to normal in Prince Edward Island.
All in all, I would say it was a manageable month, satisfying both those who enjoy winter weather, as well as those who dislike cold temperatures and difficult driving.
It would appear that February is likely to be similar… with the first day of the month breaking records in a number of Maritime locations. Greenwood’s 13.6C was the warmest in Canada. This is in stark contrast to 2015 when severe winter weather started in late January and persisted into April. Nevertheless, as we saw in Nova Scotia in January, above normal temperatures do not necessarily mean less snow.
In fact, scientists are discussing the fact that since the atmosphere contains more moisture with warmer temperatures, a warmer climate may not substantially reduce the risk of extreme snowfalls (for example: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/future-of-epic-blizzards-warming-world-19949?utm_content=buffer14068&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer ).
Happy Groundhog Day