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Your Weekend Weather

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Keith Srakocic / The Associated Press files
We�ll be watching to see if groundhogs spot their shadows on Sunday.

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Keith Srakocic / The Associated Press files We�ll be watching to see if groundhogs spot their shadows on Sunday.

What with being The Weather Column That Cares, we'd like to kick off our first forecast for the month of February by validating the blinding rage burning in your chest.

You are seeing red because you've been telling EVERYONE this is one of the coldest (bad word) winters in memory, but no one wants to believe you, do they?

Well, guess what, Winnipeg? Today we are going to provide you with scientific proof this has been one of the coldest stretches in more than 60 years.

According to my buddy, Dale Marciski, at Environment Canada, December was the second-coldest in 120 years, whereas January, while colder than normal, was not one for the record books.

"It was not even in the Top 50 for coldest Januarys," Dale pointed out. "It was colder than normal, but those few warm days we had cancelled the cold days out."

But -- and this is an extremely big but, if you catch our drift -- if you take the mean temperatures for December and January and slap them together -- PRESTO! -- you end up with the coldest December-January period since 1949-50.

The combined mean temperature for the last two months was -20.5 C, compared to -21.2 C in December 1949 and January 1950. "There were colder two-month periods, but they were all back in the 1800s," Dale explained. "You have to go back over 60 years to find a colder December-January. It verifies the persistence of the cold and that people's perceptions of the cold weather are correct. It's unusual to be this cold this often."

The bad news is Dale does not see us escaping the deep-freeze any time soon.

"Nothing is moving in the atmosphere, essentially," he said. "We've got that big vortex over Hudson Bay and that creates a northerly circulation, pulling cold Arctic air down over the Prairies."

According to the weather office, today will be mostly sunny with a high of -18 C, compared with the normal high of -11 C at this time of year. We can also expect a wind chill of (Argh!) -38 C.

On Super Bowl Sunday it will be a pleasant 9 C in New Jersey, where the game is being played, but a bracing -16 C here in Winnipeg. On the upside, it should be sunny all week.

You can take your mind off the cold today by helping to build the city's first giant snow maze at Millennium Library Park. Bring along a shovel to help make snow bricks, which will be piled up to form a giant maze, festooned with panels of public art. Work starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m.

Then head to Assiniboia Downs today and Sunday for the 15th annual Super Flea Market Fundraiser in support of the Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association.

We're talking more than 80 vendors with collectibles, art, crafts, jewelry and other second-hand treasures. Admission is $4.

On Sunday, you need to park yourself in front of a big-screen TV and enjoy Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. You can huddle up with other football fanatics at a big Super Bowl bash being hosted by my favourite player, Buck Pierce, at Danny's BBQ Smokehouse & Buck's Sports Lounge, 1747 Ellice Ave., starting at 4 p.m.

Along with stuffing yourself at the whole hog buffet, you can check out Buck's Burger, which the folks at the Burger Club Winnipeg website have just rated as the No. 1 burger in the city.

And don't forget Sunday is Groundhog Day, which means if Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks out of the House of Commons and sees his shadow, we'll have six more weeks of the Senate spending scandal. At least that should take your mind of the cold weather.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 A2

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