2023 Weather Recap

It wasn’t an overly active weather season in Saskatchewan but we saw records set throughout the year. The start of the year we saw a stalled-out stagnant jet stream that brought the foggiest Januarys for west central Saskatchewan. Kindersley recorded 122 hours of visibility less than a kilometre in 2023, well above our average of 30 hours.

Despite a decent amount of snow on the ground in spring early summer was extremely dry. We were hit with the hottest May-September in 75 years. Fire season had an early start thanks to temperatures reaching above 30 degrees in early May for many communities. This led to records set in the most hectares burned in a year 1.9 million, compared to the 2015 record of 1.8 million. It also set records for the most hours of smoke recorded in communities, La Ronge receiving the worst of it with 893 hours recorded.

This arid climate led to extreme drought conditions for SW Saskatchewan leading to over 50 rural municipalities declaring agricultural disasters. The drought and grasshoppers left farmers in these areas short on grass and feed for their cattle.

These drought conditions caused a reduced number of severe thunderstorms in Saskatchewan. We recorded only a single tornado this year, that touched down near Regina on May 27th. This is the lowest number of tornados since records have been kept for the province. It also saw the lowest number of lightning strikes on record according to ECCC.

El Nino has held on into fall and winter. Temperatures well above seasonal. For west central Saskatchewan we’ve seen very little moisture. October 23rd bringing our only significant snow system for winter 2023. For most of the province, the warm temperatures meant a brown Christmas. Boxing Day breaking record warm temps to 11 communities including Kindersley. We hit +10.2 breaking the old record set in 1997 of +6.1

Heading into the new year it’s looking like El Nino is looking to continue through the remaining of our winter and these warmer-than-average temperatures have a 60% chance of continuing into February before a more neutral phase looks like it will appear between April and June.

By Jenny Hagan

Photo Credit: Jenny Hagan
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