January 2020 Review / February 2020 Preview

Today we are going to take a relatively quick look back at Edmonton's weather for January 2020.

The reason that today will be quick is because the big story for January 2020 was the deepfreeze, and we already talked about that at great length in Deepfreeze: January 2020!

Here were some of the highlights from Deepfreeze 2020, and how it compared to Deepfreeze 2019:

And now, let's talk about the rest of the month.

High Temperatures

When we look at the High temperatures for the month the deepfreeze really stands out, with Highs below -15°C and well below average stretching from January 9th through 19th.

We had 4 coldest-in-30-years Highs, with the coldest on the 14th at -29.7°C. That is still a few degrees warmer than the coldest-since-1880 records, which are mostly around -32°C to -34°C. But for some trivia, the coldest High ever recorded at the Blatchford stations was -40°C on January 30th, 1893.

Aside from the deepfreeze January's Highs were mostly a few degrees above average, and also mostly a few degrees below the top of our January range. But January 1st's High of 3.8°C was the warmest New Year's day since 5.6°C in 1964. Although 2019 was 2.9°C, 2016 was 1.4°C, and 2015 was 3.2°C, so a warm New Year's wasn't unheard of.

By the end of the month we had had 13 days with Highs of 0°C or more, which is just a bit above the average of 12 days.

We didn't have any Highs hit 5°C, although we came close with the 25th, 30th & 31st all hitting 4.6°C. On average in January we actually have 4 Highs which hit 5°C (surprise!), and since 2000 the only January's with 0 were 2000, 2008, and now 2020.

On the cold side of things we had 6 Highs of -20°C or colder, which matched 2011 & 2004. Those included 4 Highs of -25°C or colder, and that was the most since January 1996 & 1982 which also both 4. Going a bit further back, January 1980 had 5.

Low Temperatures

The Lows look a lot like the Highs, although the "mild" Lows at the end of the month mostly stayed a little bit closer to the average. From January 9th through 19th the Lows were below -20°C , with the 15th way down at -37.6°C. That was the coldest day recorded at Blatchford since January 19, 1996 at -37.8°C.

We talked about this a lot over in Deepfreeze: January 2020! if you are interested.

And so January 2020 had:
  • 11 Lows of -20°C or colder, the most since January 2011 with 12.
  • 8 Lows of -25°C or colder, the most since January 2004 with 8.
  • 4 Lows of -30°C or colder, the most since January 1997 with 6.

It is worth mentioning that the deepfreeze hit Calgary & Regina fairly hard too, and it brushed Winnipeg. You can use the dropdowns in the dashboards to compare the cities.

Warm & Cold Months

Even with the deepfreeze January's average High of -7.9°C was only the coldest since 2005's -8.1°C, and it ranked 2020 as Edmonton's 70th warmest January Highs out of 139.

If you flip this dashboard to the Lows, January 2020's average Low of -17°C was the coldest since 2004 at -17.8°C. That ranked 2020 as the 66th warmest Lows for January.

That is quite a bit different from deepfreeze of February 2019, which was not quite as cold but was much longer. It dropped February 2019's average temperature far enough to make it our 5th coldest recorded February.

In this chart we have the mean temperature for each month (average of the High & Low) compared to the average for the 20th century. Orange bubbles were warmer, and blue bubbles were colder, and the size of the bubble represents how far from the average the month was.

January 2020 ends up on the positive side of things, with a mean temperature 1.1°C above the 20th century average. That's still quite a bit colder than the past few years, because from 2012-2018 we had 8 January's in a row that were at least 4°C warmer than the 20th century average. And in the past 20 years we have had lots of warm January's and lots of warm bubbles. So 2020 ends up as our coldest January since 2004, which was down at -0.5°C below the 20th century average.

Here we can again see just how much more extreme the deepfreeze of February 2019 was, with a big blue bubble for its temperatures -9.4°C below the 20th century average for February.

At the end of January we are a little over halfway through winter. Things started off with a really cold early-November, but after that were fairly mild until the giant deepfreeze. With the warm end to January it can feel like spring is just around the corner...but actually there are still about 2 months where anything could happen.


In terms of snow January's 26.7cm makes it our snowiest month of the winter so far, and it was just a bit above our January average of 22cm.

Here we have the January snow for a few other cities around Canada:
  • everyone was laughing at Vancouver (because hey, why not?) but their 34.6cm was more than Edmonton, and the most since 36.9cm in January 2002.
  • Calgary had a very snowless January with only 3.9cm. That was the lowest since 3.2cm in January 2001.
  • Montréal's 48.2cm was right on their average.
  • And St. John's 160ish cm is just an estimate, because Environment Canada's for the giant storm are missing. 160ish cm would only be about St. John's 5th most snowy January, because it also crossed the 160cm mark in 2005, 2003, 1960 & 1912, and in 1897 it recorded 188cm.

This one is a little bit messy, but it shows the total snowfall so far this winter.

Edmonton has had 70.3cm of snow, which is right on our average.

In comparison Calgary's very snowy fall puts it at 118cm, and a little above Montréal's 113.4cm. St. John's is out of this world at more than 250cm.


On January 22nd we had a fairly large snowstorm, which dropped 10.5cm on the International. That was only the International's 2nd 10cm snowday this year, after 11.4 on November 9th. Those were also our only 5cm snowdays, although a few overnight storms broke that mark too.


Even with the relatively warm end to January our snowdepth is still above average with Blatchford at 24cm and the International at 25cm. The warm weather really made a dent in the International's snowdepth though, because on the 24th it had been up at 34cm.

On average our snowdepth continues to climb for more than another month, before the big melt usually starts in early March.

And so right now the International has had snow on the ground for just under 3 months, and at Blatchford it has been just over 2. And there are probably still at least 2 months to go, with Blatchford's snow usually hitting zero around the beginning of April, and the International sometimes a bit later.

Here's a quick comparison of the snowdepths in Edmonton, Calgary, and St. John's. Calgary is down at 1cm, which is pretty typical for them. St. John's was way up at 125cm following the storm, but that has fallen to 71cm.

February Temperatures

February temperatures are usually a lot like January, with 10-15 Highs above 0°C, and 5 Lows below -20°C.

But of course last year February 2019 was ridiculous. It had just 1 High of 0.0°C, and then 21 Lows hit -20°C, including 16 at -25°C, and 3 at -30°C. Let's all agree to never do that again.