A month of January like no other

A month of January like no other

With above-average temperatures for the time of year, January has been “unusually” mild and snowy so far. But don’t tuck your hats and mittens away too quickly because a cold snap is expected in Quebec in the coming weeks.

Posted at 5:00 am


Montreal has yet to see a day when mercury fell below -20C in January. And only one day the temperature dropped below -15°C.

“The coldest month-to-date temperature was January 16, with a minimum of -16.1°C. This is really exceptional,” says André Monette, Head of Meteorology at MétéoMédia.

Every year, Montreal observes an average of seven or eight nights in January with minimum temperatures below -20C, according to Jean-Philippe Bégin, a meteorologist at Environment Canada. “So far this year, we’re at zero,” he said.

The cold weather is coming

Since the beginning of January, the average temperature recorded in Montreal has been about 5°C above the seasonal norm, says Mr. Monette. The situation is similar across the province. “Elsewhere in Quebec, it’s about 4 to 6 degrees above average,” he says.

Since the beginning of winter, the province has been spared from cold snaps. “But if it’s mild somewhere, it’s cold elsewhere,” says Jean-Philippe Bégin.

In December, the cold was particularly present in western Canada. In January, the cold was more in Russia, in Siberia.

However, the cold should return to Quebec soon, meteorologists say. “We will see that the situation changes. Late January and early February promise to get very cold in Quebec. There is a return of the pendulum,” explains Mr Bégin.

A month of January full of storms

Since the beginning of winter, Quebec has seen much more than normal rainfall. So far, 125 cm of snow has fallen in Montreal. “Normally we should be at 107 cm on January 24th. We’re about 18cm longer than normal,” said Mr. Monette. Add to that the 20 to 25 cm of snow expected from Wednesday to Thursday, which should widen this gap.

Snow and winter storm warnings are in effect for several regions of Quebec, mainly in the eastern part of the province.

The snowfall, which will start this Wednesday evening and continue through Thursday, will be accompanied by moderate winds that will cause intermittent snowstorms.

Gusts of 50 to 60 km/h are expected in Montreal. “It will result in blowing snow in the most exposed places, particularly near the Saint Lawrence River,” says Mr. Bégin. In the eastern part of the province, the winds will be even stronger. “There will also be a lot more snow,” he said.

Environment Canada warns there could be a significant impact on commuter traffic in urban areas. “Be prepared for changing and rapidly deteriorating road conditions. In heavy snowfall, visibility can be suddenly restricted at times,” writes the federal agency on its website.