After a 'normal' winter, expect a soggy spring
Winter is officially over, but history tells us that Mother Nature doesn’t read the calendar so well.
So there’s likely more snow and cold to come in March and perhaps in April, too.
In fact, flurries are on the horizon for this Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto.
But all in all, we “lived a charmed life” this winter in Toronto, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.
While places such as Windsor were pummelled with 200 centimetres of snow and London got 300, Toronto escaped with a normal winter — a paltry 110 cm. The average snowfall for Toronto is 103 cm.
In fact, while the East Coast was experiencing “a storm a week,” this winter, Toronto was an area of calm.
“This was as normal, or as close to normal, as you could get,” Phillips said.
It may not have felt normal for many who recalled that last winter was the warmest on record with the least amount of snowfall (52 cm) on record.
If you thought this winter was colder than normal, you’re wrong.
The average temperature from November through to March 20 was 2.3 C; normal is 2.4 C.
The average total precipitation was 266 mm and the average is 262.
“Last year was one of the most benign winters, but this was a real winter,” Phillips said.
And the snow didn’t come slamming in. There were only four days that got 10 centimetres of snow or more.
You couldn’t even complain about extensive cold snaps.
The most brutal cold snap lasted two days on Jan. 23 when the mercury plunged to -20.2 C and on Jan. 24 when temperatures fell to -21.2 C.
In all there were 13 days when the temperatures dipped below -15 C, but typically we would see 20 of those bone-chilling days.
Although it says spring on the calendar and we’ve already been blessed with a day of 15.5 C temperatures (March 18), Mother Nature often offers us these “spring teasers,” as Phillips calls them.
The Environment Canada forecast is calling for a warmer than normal spring, but it should also be wetter than normal.
And although Monday was the first official full day of spring, Phillips says “nature’s spring” is still a few weeks to come.
He calls “nature’s spring” the time of year when the buds are coming up and the birds are back. It’s the time of year when “you can smell spring, those earthy smells.”
Those smells usually arrive in Windsor by March 31 and in Toronto a little later, by April 3 and at Pearson International Airport by April 12.
Typically, the month of March produces about 11 per cent of the snowfall, so winter is not yet dead, the climatologist stresses.
“You can’t count out winter,” Phillips says. “There’s a saying that is so true. The first day of spring is one thing, but the first spring day is another. We somehow think we’re owed spring.”
-- Curtis Rush, Staff Reporter