Winnipeggers shovelling snow or bracing against wind chills might not realize it, but we could be on the verge of setting a warm-winter temperature record.
The city is less than three weeks away from breaking an 80-year-old temperature record for the number of days in a row where the mercury has not dipped to -30 C or below.
Environment Canada meteorologist Dale Marciski said the city has not seen a temperature of -30 C since Feb. 25, 2011.
Unless the temperatures get extremely low — which they could on Monday and Tuesday where the forecast is for lows of -32 C — we would tie the record of 714 days in a row on Feb. 8 and break it on Feb. 9, Marciski said.
"It will mostly depend on how much cloud we get. We were supposed to be below -30 C on Dec. 24 (2012), but it was cloudy so we reached -29 C," he said.
But Marciski said even if we don’t break the record, we’ll likely still qualify for a weather silver medal.
"My suspicion is this could be the second-longest stretch," he said.
"Every other year, except 1931 and 2012, had at least one day of -30 C. If you have a -30 C day, you reset the clock for this record."
David Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, said he loves weather records, but usually they are for particularly horrible weather.
"If you’re going to have to endure it, you want it to be something you can brag about to your grandchildren," Phillips said.
"In many ways we think of -20 C as a raw day, because it is about the old zero degree Fahrenheit, but on the Prairies it is -30 C that really counts as a cold day. It’s amazing that you went a whole year, 2012, where the temperature didn’t get to -30 C."
Arnaldo Carreira, owner of Orlando’s Seafood Grill, which recently held its 30th polar bear lunch which raised $4,700 for the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, said he misses -30 C days because the colder it is the better for his charity lunch.
"I don’t like it when it’s balmy, I like it when it’s rough," Carreira said.
"It’s always more interesting for everybody when it’s cold."
Paul Jordan, chief operating officer for The Forks, said as the mercury drops, so do the numbers of people out on the skating or river trail.
"Last year wasn’t even winter as far as I was concerned, but when it gets very cold it stops people from coming out," " Jordan said.
Irina Bissonnette, director of marketing and communications with the Festival du Voyageur, said last year was not only mild, it was a tough to find snow and the white stuff had to be trucked in.
"This year is great and we have been very lucky with the weather. For the first time in two years we have already finished all the snow blocks for the sculptures. We had to truck in snow for our ice sculptures last year," Bissonnette said.
The Festival, scheduled for Feb. 15 to 24, is prepared for cold or mild winters, she added
"It doesn’t matter what the temperature is because people embrace their winter here."