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January in Chilliwack coldest in 21 years

Total precipitation 71 per cent below 30-year average; more cold weather on the way
A warming centre is now open during the daylight hours at the United Church in downtown Chilliwack

January in Chilliwack was colder than usual and much, much drier.

With just 68.3 millimetres (mm) of rain in the month that was 68 per cent below the 30-year average of 211 mm for January.

And the 8.4 cm of snow that fell in the first month of the year was 84 per cent below the average of 53 cm, according to Environment Canada's volunteer weather observer Roger Pannett.

It was the fifth consecutive January with below normal precipitation & the driest since the 66.8 mm total recorded in January 1985. Total precipitation 71 per cent below normal.

After the cold, snowy December and snowfall on New Year's Eve, arctic air funnelled from the interior to the Fraser Valley leading to Environment Canada warnings as wind chills fell to the -20 C level.

A week later, a dusting of snow fell, which was followed by another arctic outflow warning and high winds.

Overall, last month was the coldest January in 21 years at 0.53 C below normal, and to date it's been the coldest winter since 1990-1991.

Average temperature for the month was 0.97 C down from a 30-year average of 1.5 C.

The coldest temperatures were on Jan. 12 with a maximum of -3.5 C (6.8 C below normal), and a minimum of -9.6 C during the early morning of Jan. 13.

The coldest recorded temperature in January ever in Chilliwack was Jan. 13 and 14 in 1911 with a minimum of -20.6 C.

After 43 days of snow on the ground, from Jan. 18 onwards, Fraser Valley weather conditions returned closer to normal. However with only six days of rainfall, that was the lowest number of January rainy days in over 36 years,

The forecast for is for continued cold, dry weather until the weekend with a low forecast of -7 C overnight Thursday, but a chance of snow on the weekend.

To combat the cold for those on the street, a warming centre is now open during daylight hours at the United Church in downtown Chilliwack for folks who have nowhere to go after the shelters close their doors each morning.

The drop-in warming centre will be open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the United Church downtown on Yale and Spadina Avenue.

There are also three extreme weather-bed locations funded by BC Housing in Chilliwack: Ruth and Naomi's, 46130 Margaret Ave. 16 spaces; Salvation Army, 45746 Yale Rd. five spaces; and the Cyrus Centre Chilliwack, 45845 Wellington Ave. 12 spaces.