2023 weather overview

By Keelin Voykin, Saskatchewan Research Council

With several longstanding climate records shattered in 2023, Saskatchewan’s weather was right at home in a year full of impactful events. This year, the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)’s Climate Reference Station (CRS), located in Saskatoon, logged record amounts of bright sunshine and daily high temperatures, and below average precipitation, making 2023 the fifth driest year on record.

The information used in this article is from SRC’s monthly weather summaries, which are developed with data recorded at our CRSs located in northeast Saskatoon and at the Conservation Learning Centre (CLC) near Prince Albert, Sask. They are managed by SRC’s climatologist, Virginia Wittrock. 


In a welcome start to 2023, SRC’s CRS in Saskatoon and at the CLC both recorded warmer-than-average temperatures for January.

Much like January 2022, no new weather records were set. However, both CRSs did experience unusual weather. Both locations recorded snowfall that was below average for January. In total, each location recorded half the normal amount of precipitation for the month.


Winter was still hanging on for the month of hearts and flowers, but temperatures were rising – at least, on average.

The average daily high, daily low and daily mean were at least 1.9 Celsius (C) warmer than normal in the northern part of Saskatchewan’s agricultural zone, according to the CRS at the CLC.

Further south, the CRS in Saskatoon also recorded temperatures that were warmer than usual but less extreme.

Saskatoon reached 0.2 C on February 6, which came with freezing rain, creating slick conditions in the Bridge City.


March roared in like a lion, but certainly didn’t go out like a lamb.

Both of SRC’s CRSs recorded temperatures much colder than average throughout March.

The CRS near Prince Albert recorded temperatures above 0 C on only four days throughout the month. Meanwhile, the CRS located in Saskatoon recorded five days above freezing. Normally, Prince Albert records about 14 days with highs above 0 C, while Saskatoon usually records about 15 days.

Both locations experienced below-average snowfalls during March but closed out the month with a lot of snow still on the ground. The CRS at the CLC finished March with more snow on the ground than the month started with.


It was a chilly start to April.

Temperatures dipped into the negative double digits for the first week before rising back to average by the end of the month.

SRC’s CRS at the CLC recorded temperatures well below average, with the lowest temperatures dropping to -22.8 C on April 5.

April was also drier than usual, with the CRS in Saskatoon recording only six days with measurable rain or snowfall – making April the fourth consecutive month with precipitation well below the monthly average.


May was a hot one, with record-breaking temperatures seen across Saskatchewan. SRC’s CRS in Saskatoon recorded seven new records, including a new maximum daily temperature of 31.7 C on May 16. 

Both of the stations recorded 21 days (from April 26 to May 16) of no measurable precipitation. Despite the dry spell, May’s precipitation was near average thanks to a thunderstorm on May 24 that brought 24.9 mm to the Saskatoon area.


Not to be outdone by May, June was also another warm and dry month in Saskatchewan. The CRS in Saskatoon and at the CLC recorded 20 days of temperatures above 25 C – making it the hottest June since 1988.

Both CRSs saw less precipitation than average, with the Saskatoon location seeing the fewest number of days with precipitation on record.


July marked the seventh consecutive month where the CRS in Saskatoon recorded drought-like conditions. Saskatoon saw less than half of the normal precipitation for July. 

The Prince Albert region was not immune to the dry conditions either; however, more rainfall was recorded there than in Saskatoon. The CRS at the CLC recorded slightly more than half of the average monthly precipitation for the month.

Despite the lack of rain, temperatures were average – both CRS’s recorded temperatures close to the mean.

July marked the seventh consecutive month where the CRS in Saskatoon recorded drought-like conditions. Saskatoon saw less than half of the normal precipitation for July.


Contrary to the preceding months, August was wetter than usual, with both CRSs recording above-average precipitation. However, wildfire smoke blanketed the air in both locations for much of the month.

Despite the rain and wildfire smoke, summer 2023 was the thirteenth sunniest one since 1963 (according to data from the CRS in Saskatoon).


September was a warm, dry and sunny month in Saskatchewan.

Both stations logged over 250 hours of bright sunshine.

However, precipitation was well below average, with only 3.5 mm of rain recorded by the CRS at the CLC. The Saskatoon CRS saw wetter conditions, logging 17.5 mm. 


October started warm and wet, with rainfall recorded at both stations. The CRS in Saskatoon recorded warm temperatures (up to 22.2 C) in early October. However, temperatures plummeted later in the month, followed by the season’s first snowfall. By Halloween, Saskatoon recorded 2 cm of snow on the ground.


Autumn 2023 (September, October and November) is now the warmest on record, reaching an average of 6.9 C in Saskatoon.

November was unusually dry and warm, with record-breaking daily temperatures observed at the CRS in Saskatoon. Temperatures hit 12.2 C and 11.6 C on November 18 and 19, respectively.

The average maximum temperature for November was around 0 C in Saskatoon and around -2 C at the CLC.


To cap off an already exceptionally dry year, December 2023 was the tenth driest on record, according to the CRS in Saskatoon. 

However, the month was anything but gloomy. The CRS in Saskatoon broke several records for the most hours of bright sunshine in December. 

Both CRS’s recorded temperatures much warmer than expeced in Saskatchewan, with each location stretching well above the average monthly temperature. 

 SRC’s CRS in Saskatoon is a principal climate reference station and is the only station of its kind in the city and one of only three like it in Saskatchewan. The station provides data to governments, universities, insurance agencies, agriculture sector clients and a wide variety of other industries. It is also a valuable research tool for evaluating long-term climate trends. SRC’s Saskatoon CRS celebrated its 60th anniversary of collecting weather data in 2023. 

SRC’s CRS located at the Conservation Learning Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022 and now provides historical weather data!