Records continue to fall regarding how warm Portage la Prairie has been.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Portage broke a 131-year record on Thursday when the temperature reached 8.1 degrees, surpassing the 6.7° mark set back in 1892. Things will be historic on Wednesday as well, as by 11 a.m., Portage had already flown by the January 31 record of 6.0° set back in 1993, with our daytime high supposed to reach 9° throughout the day.
"Well we aren't moving too many snow blowers or heaters and things like that but the windshield washer fluid and wipers are flying off the shelves. It's a full-time job trying to keep the entrance to the store and the floors clean" commented Dave Fraser, owner of the Canadian Tire store in Portage.
Meteorologist Justin Shelley says we are seeing some strange warmth throughout the region, considering daytime highs for this time of year are only about -10/-11, and overnight lows should be near -20.
"Winter isn't officially over yet, but it'll certainly feel that way for the next week or so in the Portage region."
Shelley says the warm weather will continue through the first week of February. He notes that temperatures will stay in the plus range and cool down relatively by early next week.
"It will still remain above normal, with daytime highs near the 0 mark. So, it's a significant period of warmth. Even when we look at the longer range for the month of February as a whole, we are anticipating, on average, the full month to be above normal with some pretty high confidence."
The Meteorologist attributes the warmer weather to a particularly strong upper Ridge of high pressure that's been allowing this warm air mass to intrude throughout the prairies and El Nino.
As Shelley highlights the extended forecasts, some models suggest that temperatures will dip back down to our usual territory by mid-February.
"The confidence isn't too high in that forecast right now," says the Meteorologist. "But one thing we are keeping an eye on in the relatively near term is the potential for some precipitation early next week. It doesn't look like it will be too impactful at this point, but a bit of much-needed precipitation for the area could be on the way early next week."
As for January as a whole, Shelley says that the month was 4° warmer than average in Portage.
Don Smith was downtown around noon and says he feels the weather conditions seem to confirm what science has been trying to tell us.
"It really makes you wonder about what they're saying about this global warming," says Smith "There's something crazy going on. It shouldn't be like this. I think they said last year was the warmest year for 70 years."
Darin Arnold was out and about, too, and adds, "It feels like spring. It feels like it should be about the middle of April right now. The nice thing about a warm January is that you are not wearing a heavy jacket, the toque and the mitts, and everything. It's nice to know you don't have to start your car in -40 below, and do that shovel in the morning. It's very pleasant. You just let it melt, first thing in the morning is much easier."
Local mechanic Aaron Thiessen emphasizes how the warmer weather is affecting his work.
"The weather we're having recently, it's definitely nice for our diesel trucks. In the typical cold of the winter, the trucks have a harder time starting, we have more fault codes, more issues with the trucks. So, in these temperatures, it's less hassle for us in the shop, and less hassle for the guys in the trucks."