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So how bad WAS winter in the Toronto area?

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Suzanne Leonard
Weather Broadcaster

Thursday, March 20, 2014, 9:48 AM -

Lots of storms, lots of stories. But between the snow, the cold and the ice, just how exceptional WAS the winter in the Greater Toronto Area?

In some, but not all ways, it was a record-setting winter.

The 101 consecutive days of 1 cm or more on the ground recorded at Pearson Airport was a noteworthy new record. The previous record was 81 days.

Certainly, total snowfall amounts were higher than average.

December, January and February all saw snowfall above what is normal for a typical GTA winter.

The Great Lakes reached 92.2 per cent of total ice cover, but that was shy of the all-time record of 94.7 per cent.

The prolonged cold was one of the biggest stories this winter. The City of Toronto issued 35 extreme weather alerts, which free up resources for the city's homeless population. Those are issued when night time temperatures are forecast to drop to -15C or below.

An impressive fact: temperatures dropped to -18C or below on a total of 15 days. This compares to one day last winter, and zero days the previous winter.

In all, it was the third coldest winter in the last 50 years, and the coldest in the last 20 years for the GTA. 

Overall, it was a winter of extremes, a classic cold and snowy winter - but one of the most memorable events was near the beginning: the ice storm.

Freezing rain began on Sunday, December 22, coating roads and trees in over 1 cm of ice. More than 430,000 customers lost power in southern Ontario, with over 300,000 in the GTA alone. This was an unprecedented storm for the GTA, and forced many to spend Christmas out of their homes.

It would take more than a week for power to be fully restored, and the costs came to more than $100 million.


HOW LONG UNTIL SPRING ARRIVES? Read the latest behind-the-scenes analysis by Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.


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