Winter Weater

A winter sunset on the path outside the Galt looking northwest at the High Level Bridge

A winter sunset on the path outside the Galt looking northwest at the High Level Bridge

After a number of heavy snowfalls in October and November, the weather this December has been mild and warm for southern Alberta. In the first half of December, only one day has seen temperatures stay below 0⁰C all day. Southern Alberta has long been known for its unusual weather events and for good reason. Here is a sample of just a few notable winter- and snow-related weather events in our history.

In May 1903 a spring snowstorm hit dumping 3 feet of snow in the region. The snowstorm resulted in the deaths of two boys caught in the storm, and stranded cattle on the range, resulting in heavy livestock losses.

The lowest temperature Lethbridge experienced was -42.8⁰C. This temperature has been recorded on four separate occasions: January 7, 1909; December 18, 1924; January 3, 1950; and December 29, 1968.

On December 15, 1964, the “Great Blizzard” lashed southern Prairies. Heavy snows, 90 km/h winds, and -34˚C temperatures, paralyzed the southern Prairies. Three people froze to death and thousands of animals perished.

On January 6, 1966, in Pincher Creek, a chinook wind sent the temperature soaring 21˚C in just four minutes.

From April 17 to 20, and April 27 to 29, 1967, a series of intense winter storms dropped a record 175 cm, a few inches shy of 6 feet, of snow on southern Alberta. Thousands of cattle perished on the open range. It is estimated that 30,000 calves perished. Army units were dispatched to assist in snow clearing, while food, fuel, and feed were airlifted into the province.

In June 1995, heavy, warm rains in early June, combined with snow melting, resulted in the highest flood in the Oldman River on record since 1911. Major floods also occurred in 1953 and 1964.

On July 1, 2008, a Canada Day thunderstorm dumped more rain in a 90-minute period than Lethbridge generally gets in a month. This caused extensive flooding throughout the city.

While our weather has been fairly mild so far this month, there always seems to be a change in weather around the corner.