The January Thaw

The average high temperature in Toronto in January is minus 1 degree.  I’d have guessed lower.  Each year, near the end of January, we have a thaw, one of two weather singularities. (The other is called Indian Summer.) 

When I was a little girl, my grandmother knew an old man who said, “I’ve seen thousands and thousands of Januarys and never a one without a thaw.?  Of course, this made me laugh.  But as I’ve lived through my own thousands and thousands of Januarys, I always remembered what he said and it seemed to be born out.  So, after a sunny, balmy 12 kilometres at minus 4 this morning, I thought I’d check out the science behind the January thaw.

Temperatures for our climate are expected to be at their lowest around January 23.  (The highest around July 24.) Frequently, around January 25, for about 5 days, temperatures are about 6 degrees above normal.  But it varies from year to year and meteorologists don’t recognize the phenomenon because it isn’t consistent.  They also can’t think of any reason for it to happen.  So – no science!

In the absence of science, I’m going with faith.  It just make winter a little more bearable.  Sadly, I think we’ve had the thaw already.  The temperatures for the next two weeks are forecast to be well below seasonal norms.  Bundle up! 

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