If the month of January seemed to drag on forever, it was for good reason. The average temperature was minus 13.6 degrees which was the seventh coldest in the last 57 years: last year minus 6.5// 10-year average minus 8.6// 50-year average minus 9.4// warmest 1990 minus 3.0// COLDEST 1994 minus 16.8.
It is interesting that the warmest and coldest Januarys were only four years apart which makes it difficult to identify any trend such as climate change. Over the past 130 years, which is when the earliest continuous weather records began, the climate has certainly changed just as it changes today and will undoubtedly change in the future irrespective of anything mankind does. On the other hand, the past 50 years does indicate that we have had a warming trend. During the past year, which was the third warmest locally during the last 55 years, Ormstown has had the fifth coldest July and now the seventh coldest January. Analysts who study charts and trends look for “leading indicators” to help determine when a trend is “rolling over” or coming to an end. These two very cold months only six months apart in an otherwise hot year could prove to be just such an indicator.
In the meantime, I am happy January has ended. The only person I saw with a smile on their face was my furnace fuel supplier. Our farm had to deal with frozen water pipes on the Saturday morning following the minus 35 low overnight. That was bad enough but in the pipe thawing process, two very old galvanized pipes that were just looking for an excuse to break loose were successful, leaving us making a hasty trip to the hardware store for parts.
It was only two months ago that our provincial government announced a directive to furnace repairmen which would prohibit them from repairing any oil furnace more than twenty years old. Hydro Quebec indicated that a financial incentive would be offered to assist in the conversion to electric heat at the same time. This was followed by Hydro Quebec announcing publicly on two separate occasions during January that the daily consumption of electricity in the province had exceeded the previous all-time record of 40,000 megawatts and could the public please lower their thermostats a bit to help out.
This, of course, is before the old oil furnaces have even been converted or the production of automobiles goes all electric by 2030 requiring every Quebec home to have a charging station sucking more power out of the grid. There is an old saying which states DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET. It might be time to reconsider the wisdom in that saying before the next ice storm comes to bite us.
Precipitation was below normal with only 47 mms. or 1.9 inches of rain and melted snow. The old rule of thumb for a Montreal winter was 100 inches accumulation. That number will be hard to reach this year with only 32 inches at the station so far.