The summer-like conditions in Maple Creek today have landed the community the all-time warmest day during January in Saskatchewan history.

Maple Creek reached an astonishing 20.9 C this afternoon at 1 p.m. ousting the previous provincial mark set on January 7, 2003, at 19 C in the Cypress Hills.  

Samantha Mauti, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said the never-before-experienced temperatures also made Maple Creek the warmest place in Canada for the day beating the Abbotsford Airport's 18.4 C.

"It's a very strong upper ridge," she said. "Upper ridges are normally associated with warmer temperatures. I wish I had a more dazzling answer for you."

Maple Creek has only experienced 15 C seven times during January in its history with some records dating back to 1915. The previous all-time monthly record was set at 18.9 C on January 7, 1958.

Two factors played a role in helping establish today's record; a lack of snowpack and a localized Chinook effect coming off Cypress Hills.

"Some of the energy is used for melting the snow, so that can be why during the winter period, you may not see temperatures as warm as they could get because of snow on the ground," she said. "The flow is (southwesterly) from that direction."

Swift Current broke its all-time January heat record today when it hit 16.4 C at 3 p.m. breaking a 124-year record of 15 C set on January 18 in 1900. The city has only witnessed the temperature reach 12 C seven times in January, the most recent in 1982. 

The abnormally warm winter conditions are expected to stick around until at least the weekend in southwestern Saskatchewan.  

warm weather SKGraphic courtesy of Environment and Climate Change Canada