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First day of spring is here: When will the warm up begin?

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By Doug Gillham and Patrick Cool
Meteorologists
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 6:55 PM

Spring is finally here, believe it or not.

This new season comes after:

  1. The coldest winter in decades in many parts of the country
  2. Three times the average daily snow on the ground so far this March in southern Ontario
  3. A recording breaking 100+ days (and counting) of snow on the ground at Toronto Pearson International Airport
  4. Record-breaking ice coverage on the Great Lakes

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Spring is a welcome sight! The Weather Network celebrated the start of the season, which officially kicked off at 1:57 p.m. on Thursday:

Spring is certainly a welcome sight -- although the term “sight” implies that we're actually seeing signs of the season, which are scarce here in southern Ontario.

Take, for example,  this 14-day map for Oakville, Ontario:


We definitely don’t see seasonal temperatures in the short-term but after the January-like dip to the minus teens Monday morning, the first week of April will bring a stretch of near normal temperatures with highs approaching the double digits.


RELATED: Check out our official 2014 Spring Outlook


Will it stay?

The answer is a tough one. Long-range weather models are in conflict with one another with no clear signs that one outcome is more likely than the other. Looking at the graphic below you see the average temperature for April compared to normal from one model. Blues are colder than normal, reds warmer. It tells a an interesting story for the GTA and that basically, we are very close to the fringe of warmer and cooler than normal temperatures for April.

What does this mean?

Well, we expect quite the fluctuating pattern through the month of April as the fight between old man winter and spring gets into full swing. You should expect the warmer days in the early part of April to not last as bouts of unseasonably cold air are still expected to make their way south near mid-month when average high temperatures should otherwise be in the low teens. Have a look at this chilly forecast from one model for around the second week of April (the green shading translates to cold).

Abnormally cold lake temperatures won’t help either so anyone living along the shoreline will take even longer to warm-up.

Giving details for the second half of April is approaching dart-throwing territory – the atmosphere is far too chaotic to enable precise weekly predictions five weeks away. El Nino conditions may make an appearance later this year but now conditions are neutral and will remain so through next month.

It’s hard to draw conclusions from this.


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In these cases, sometimes a persistence forecast (i.e., going with the current trend) is the best one and, since no signal or change in the global weather pattern is clear, the current outlook looks like April may trend cooler than normal as a whole.

So spring-like conditions are near but an all-out end to this cold weather pattern that we’ve been stuck in for many months is not in sight just yet.

The good news is the longer days and strengthening sunshine will eventually win this battle of the seasons! We just have to be even more patient.

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