December 10, 2019

Winnipeg
-20° C, Partly cloudy

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Working on our suntans in mid-March

Gorgeous blast of spring a joy

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Braeden Demchuk works the jumps at the Stony Mountain Ski Area Sunday.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Braeden Demchuk works the jumps at the Stony Mountain Ski Area Sunday.

Derek and his son Paul Jurkowski from Dugald were both sporting tans Sunday after soaking up some sun. Not on a winter getaway, but ice fishing in Lockport on the weekend.

Double-digit temperatures were bittersweet but welcome to ice fishers and outdoor skaters at The Forks where the river trail closed for the season Sunday.

This was the last weekend permanent ice-fishing shacks are allowed on the Red River, said the Jurkowkskis, who left their portable hut at home.

"You don't need it," said Derek, one of about 100 ice fishers at the popular angling spot Sunday. With warmer temperatures on the way this week, they expect they won't be on the ice much longer.

"I think this might be the last day," said fisher Dice Sugikami from Winnipeg. He was prepared to pack it in Sunday morning after he and a buddy hauled up a dozen saugers on the soft, soggy snow.

The white stuff won't be around much longer, says Environment Canada.

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Two Canada geese bask in the sun in Whyte Ridge Sunday. The annual migration has begun, ahead of schedule.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Two Canada geese bask in the sun in Whyte Ridge Sunday. The annual migration has begun, ahead of schedule.

"You're going to remain a good 10 degrees above normal," said Jean Theriault, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in Montreal. "If you still have any snow on the ground, it's going to be a thing of the past shortly."

The next 10 days are supposed to remain well above normal, he said.

In Winnipeg Sunday, the temperature reached 11.9 C at 4 p.m., close to the record of 12.5 C set in 1981.

"It's possible records will be beaten later in the week," said Theriault. On Thursday, a high of 16 C is forecast for Winnipeg. Farther south and west, a high of 18 C is expected Tuesday in Melita.

The spring-like weather arrived as the clocks sprang forward for daylight savings time and was heralded by the familiar honking of Canada geese.

"The migration has definitely begun," said Dana Race, a FortWhyte Alive interpreter. "We had our first goose in February — about a month early. He didn't stick around very long — he was literally an early bird," she said. "Now we've started seeing geese regularly."

Ten days ago, there'd be up to three on the lake that's kept open with an aerator.

"This morning I came into work and there were 19," Race said Sunday. Later Sunday afternoon, there were up to 50, she said. These early birds aren't going to stick around, either, she said. They're a smaller subspecies of Canada geese that migrate the farthest, from the Gulf of Mexico north to nest near Churchill and Baffin Island.

Many of the geese that stick around these parts are a bigger subspecies that fly south only as far as southern Minnesota, she said. "They're cross-border shopping," Race joked.

The big influx of Canada geese on the weekend likely "hitched a ride" on strong south winds Friday that expedited their flight time, she said. Another early bird has arrived at FortWhyte Alive with the geese, said Race: bald eagles. So far, she's counted two of the majestic raptors who follow the geese, their main source of food in the spring and the fall.

Manitobans aren't the only ones dining on the delicious weather.

"Most of the country is enjoying very warm air for some time now," said Theriault with Environment Canada. "It looks like the trend is even increasing for the next week or so from British Columbia to the Atlantic. The cold Arctic air does not dive down as much as it used to," explained the Montreal meteorologist.

"Let's enjoy it while we can. Hopefully we don't have snowstorms in May."

The normals for this time of year in Winnipeg are a high of -2 C and a low of -12 C, he said.

"It may look like an early spring but things can change fast," Theriault warned.

"If you enjoy temperatures that are 10 degrees above normal, and if it turns around and it's 10 below next month, that means snow could be on the way. This is part of our continental climate. Let's not forget that," Theriault said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

Read full biography

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