Midway through winter, climatologist predicts warmer February, March in Nova Scotia

Published on January 24, 2017

Josh, Aya, and Kyra Paris of Truro were outside and active, playing on a fast-shrinking snowbank on Tuesday afternoon.

©Jonathan Riley/TC Media

TRURO, N.S. – We’re just about half way there. Believe it or not, we have just about survived the first half of the winter in Nova Scotia.

David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says mid-winter in Truro is Feb. 1 and in Halifax it’s Feb. 2.

“If you’re not a big fan of winter, it is a time to rejoice, a time to raise a glass and celebrate that we have survived this far,” said Phillips. “There is more winter behind you than ahead of you.”

Environment Canada calculates winter’s midpoint by looking at the daily average temperatures based on decades of past data. Generally the daily average gets colder starting in fall and, on Feb. 1, the daily average for Truro will be as low as it gets.

The average high for Feb. 1 in Truro is –2 C and the average low is –13.

The shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, is around Dec. 21 and after that the days start to get longer again, and slowly more sunshine warms this part of the planet. In Nova Scotia, the temperatures keep going down for several weeks, to Feb. 1, when the sun’s rays finally turn things around and the daily averages slowly start increasing.

“The people who picked Feb. 4 for Truro’s Long John Festival are very smart or very intuitive, because that is a great time to celebrate, right in the dead of winter just when things are starting to get warmer,” said Phillips.

If you’d rather measure winter’s half way point by snowfall, that’s a bit sooner: Jan. 27 in Truro.

On the bright side, and this sentence should warm you up a bit just reading it: the dog days of summer, the warmest days of the year in Truro, are a full week in late July.

From July 24 to July 30 the average high is 25 C and the average low is 13.

Great winter for growing potholes

Canada’s senior climatologist says January in Truro is running about three degrees warmer than normal with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.

“You have had a lot of ups and downs – while most years you might get one January thaw, this year you’ve already had five,” says Phillips. “It’s been a great winter for growing potholes: when the temperatures go up you have water seeping down into the cracks and crevices and then it freezes at night.”

Truro also had that one brutal temperature swing from -26 C on Jan. 9 to plus 6 on Jan. 11.

Phillips cautions there is still a lot of winter ahead of us.

“We know it is not over but sometimes we get some spring-like weather and we get that feeling of spring but then winter returns with a vengeance – ahead for Truro we see more trickiness around the freezing mark, and our models for February, March and April are predicting normal to warmer than normal temperatures,” he said. “What you’ve seen is what you’re going to get.

“But keep in mind, it’s not going to be a rush to spring – you still have a good deal of winter left.”

Of course, Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, we can get all get a second opinion from Shubenacadie Sam.

RELATED: Shubenacadie Sam now live on webcam