12/28/2011 04:23 EST | Updated 02/27/2012 05:12 EST

Calgary Weather: December Temperature Breaks Double Digits In Final Week Of Month

CALGARY - Calgarians were reaching for baseball hats instead of balaclavas when they ventured out Wednesday.

While many parts of central Canada were dealing with temperatures in the double digits on the cold side of zero, a chinook was blowing through Calgary sending the mercury soaring.

As of mid-afternoon, it was a warm 10 C in the city, well above the average of -3 C for this time of year.

"It sure is nice out there today for sure — a lot of people are outside walking about and taking in the sun and warm temperatures," said Environment Canada meteorologist Bill McMurtry.

Those temperatures came at a price, though — Calgary was under a warning for high winds gusting to nearly 60 kilometres an hour.

Chinooks happen in southern Alberta when warm Pacific air blows from the southwest and down the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

They are fairly common, McMurtry said.

"There are places in southern Alberta that get between 12 and 15 chinooks per year of which the majority of those would occur in fall, winter and early spring so it is fairly common for us to get them."

But McMurtry said Calgarians would be wise not to get too smug — January is typically the time of year when the cold temperatures set in.