Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Your weekend weather

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Welcome to our first weekend weather column of the new year, a time when we traditionally look ahead to see what the next 12 months hold in store for us.

But before we can think about where we are going, we need to look in our rear-view mirror to take stock of how we got here in the first place.

OK, the truth is that doesn't make any sense at all, but it's a nice way of setting up a column packed with fascinating weather-related facts from the year we have just survived.

First, however, for those of you who, like me, are suffering from the post-holiday blues, here's a little ray of sunshine to cheer you up -- we are going to enjoy some above-normal temperatures over the next week.

Today's outlook calls for a mix of sun and clouds with a daily high of -12 C, which is one entire degree warmer than the normal high of -13 C at this not-so-festive time of year. On Sunday, look for more sun and clouds and a high of -9 C, while Monday's high should zip up to a near-tropical -2 C.

Now that we have dealt with the future, let's wallow in the past and cast our minds back on 2012, the city's fifth-warmest year since records began in 1873. According to our dear friend Dale Marciski from Environment Canada, our annual mean temperature in 2012 was 4.6 C, well above the normal of 2.6 C. The warmest year on record was 1987, with an annual mean temperature of 5.4 C. The other years that were slightly warmer were 1931, 1878 and 1998.

As Dale points out, 2012 started with a bang -- we had a stunning nine straight months of above-normal temperatures. January was the third-warmest ever and March was the warmest on record.

On March 19, the mercury hit 23.7 C, the highest March temperature ever. During the summer, the daily high topped 30 C on 19 days and on two days it soared above 35 C, with the hottest temperature, 35.4 C coming on both July 29 and Aug. 29. Dale says the coldest it got in 2012 was -29 C on Christmas Eve, and it was only the second year (the other was 1931) since records began that we have not had a -30 C day at least once during the year.

But 2012 is in the record books and it's time to get out there and uncork a brand new year. For starters, you can shake off the fact you have spent that last few weeks stuffing your cake hole with turkey and mashed potatoes and things covered in chocolate by heading down to Arctic Glacier Park at The Forks to skate on 1.2 kilometres of trails, rocket down the toboggan run and grab some serious air at the Snowboard Fun Park.

If you insist on staying inside to watch sports, at least score some tickets for the Harlem Globetrotters at the MTS Centre this afternoon. Tickets are $73 to $114 at Ticketmaster. And today is your last chance to be dazzled by Manitoba's largest drive-thru light show, Canad Inns Winter Wonderland at Red River Exhibition Park. So, please, Winnipeg, let's try to keep a positive attitude about the future, because of all the years of your life, 2013 is definitely going to be one of them.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2013 A2

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