The winter of 2014-2015 has given us many things: seasonal affective disorder, cars that won’t start and of course cold temperatures. In fact, this February was the coldest month ever recorded in our area – so congratulations for surviving! This March also ranked among the coldest for many communities in the Credit River watershed.

The coldest recorded air temperature in the Credit River watershed this February was -34.07 degrees Celsius, recorded in Orangeville on February 16.  That’s without the wind-chill people!  This is the coldest recorded temperature for Orangeville since  February 18, 1979, when a biting -36.5 degrees Celsius was recorded. Our climate station in Acton recorded a frigid -32.89 degrees Celsius on February 16. This represents the lowest air temperature ever recorded in Acton. The weather was certainly enough to keep people hunkered down in their homes.

Surface Temperature Anomaly Map
This map from our friends at NASA shows where average temperatures were above or below normal temperatures for the location and time of year. Blue areas represent lower temperatures and red represents higher temperatures. As you can see, the Great Lakes region (where we live) saw much lower temperatures than normal in February.

The movement of polar vortexes is what’s behind our excessively cold February and March. Polar vortexes are caused by instability and weakening of atmospheric pressure cells that previously held cold polar air in its place at more northerly latitudes. Polar vortexes result when this cold airy ‘breaks away’ from the polar region and travel down to our more temperate latitude. This is one of the results of climate change that may seem unexpected or counterintuitive at first, considering climate change also results in increasing average global temperatures. This frigid phenomenon will likely continue in future years.

Do you remember what it felt like to step out into nature – to hear the sound of songbirds, the smell the blossoming wildflowers and the feel of soft grass under your feet? With April upon us, it’s time to come out of hibernation and enjoy the outdoors. Credit Valley Conservation has 10 beautiful conservation areas for you to enjoy.  See you there!

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