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February colder than normal on P.E.I., ending long string of warm months

Charlottetown Harbour would typically be ice-covered in mid-February, but was largely open this year. (Kevin Yarr/CBC - image credit)
Charlottetown Harbour would typically be ice-covered in mid-February, but was largely open this year. (Kevin Yarr/CBC - image credit)

The average temperature in February was 0.2 C below normal at Charlottetown Airport, ending a run of 18 straight months of above average temperatures.

It also follows the warmest January on record in Charlottetown.

The temperature was also below normal in Summerside in February, down 1.0 C.

February temperatures

While the temperature over the course of the month was very close to average, it was a month of extremes. The average daytime high in February at Charlottetown Airport, as measured from 1981-2010, is -2.9 C. Last month the daytime highs varied from -16.0 C to 9.5 C.

Generally speaking, it was very cold at the beginning of the month, with a warm spell through the middle, and cold again at the end of the month. A report on the month from Environment Canada says that was reflected in the sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The warm months leading up to February had led to concerns about the lack of sea ice, with only five per cent coverage in the gulf as opposed to the normal near 15 per cent.

"There was initially some ice growth with cold temperatures early in the month but after an initial spurt, ice growth stagnated, and ice cover remained essentially constant until another cold snap at the end of the month," the report said.

"At mid-month there was 13 per cent ice coverage while the climatological average for mid-February is near 32 per cent."

The cold at the end of February 2023 and a cool start to March could bring a slight rebound, the report said.

Degrees different from the average for the month

February was just the third month with a below average temperature at Charlottetown Airport since the beginning of 2021. Since January 2021, the temperature at Charlottetown Airport has been 1.7 C above normal.