By the end of December, the city of Winnipeg typically lives up to its nickname: “Winter-peg.”
But this year, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said with a mean monthly temperature of -5.5 C, Manitoba may see its third-warmest December on record.
“The trend has definitely been above normal,” said ECCC operational meteorologist Kyle McAulay. “It’s been pretty much above normal every day for the last 30 days,” aside from Dec. 18, which McAulay said saw temperatures dip one degree below average conditions.
According to the ECCC, the only warmer Decembers were in 1877 and 1997 – which the organization said were strong El Nino events. The weather phenomena is likely to blame for the slow start to Winnipeg’s winter season this year.
“This is probably the first year actually I wish it was colder in Winnipeg and there was more snow,” said Bill Schifke, who was out skating with his family at Assiniboine Park Saturday.
Skating on the park’s Duck Pond opened to the public on Friday, but a spokesperson for the park told CTV News its toboggan hill and cross country ski trails are still closed for the season because of the lack of snow.
For many skaters, it was their first time doing any outdoor activities this season.
“I wasn’t sure if the rinks were open because of the warm weather,” said Ingrid Okonkwo.
“I love cross country skiing,” said Julia Civka. “And of course, I haven’t had a chance…There’s not enough snow, no trails to get out and do that.”
Others welcomed the not-so-wintery weather. Santina Lee and William Li said they’re enjoying the balmy conditions because it means they can take longer walks with their dog Atlas.
“It’s super great because we don’t feel like it’s such a chore to take her out,” Lee said. “She’s an Arctic breed kind of dog so she doesn’t mind. She would go out regardless.”
Assiniboine Park said while the warm weather has put a damper on traditional winter activities, it has brought in more visitors to its zoo this month than in previous years. That includes more people attending the zoo’s lights display, which the park said had to be cancelled for a couple of nights last season due to cold temperatures.
For those basking in the warm Winnipeg sun, Environment Canada said they can expect to see the mild weather make its way into the new year.
“It looks like a good probability that our temperatures will be warmer than our average temperatures,” McAulay said. “That’s including January, February and March,” which means those waiting for “Winter-peg” may have to wait a little longer.
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