'In like a lion, out like a lamb,' is there any truth to the March weather lore?

We compared the stats of three Canadian cities to see if there is any validity to the popular March weather myth

March is a tale of two seasons. While the first day of the month marks the meterological start to spring, astronomically, winter hangs on until March 18.

Because it is often thought of as the month with the greatest improvement over the course of its 31 days, the expression, “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” can provide some optimistic thinking for those who experience a wintry start to the month.

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"What classifies a 'lion' and 'lamb' is subjective to the region and the individual. An impactful storm is the main factor, but mild temps or frigid cold [also] can be weighed," says Weather Network meteorologist Kevin MacKay.


(This graphic was made in 2020)

So, does it hold any validity? In 2020, we looked at the last 10 years for Calgary, Toronto and St. John’s, to see how this theory holds up.


As of March 2020, Calgary had not seen an impactful system on the first or last day of March in the last 10 years. However, with temperatures as much as 27°C below seasonal, it has had a few brutally cold beginnings to the month, along with two cold finishes.

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Final score for Calgary: Three lions to start, two lions to finish.


Toronto did have March begin with a storm that brought significant rain or snow three times in the past decade. But, the city has experienced the same number of storms to finish the month, as well..

Final score for Toronto: Three lions to start, three lions to finish.

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St. John’s will often have their strongest storms occur towards the end of winter and this is reflected in their stats. Five significant storms have rang in the month, while three closed out the month, including a 25-cm event.

Final score for St. John’s: Five lions to start, three lions to end.

So...while there really is no statistical facts to back up this March lore, it gives people another reason to talk about the weather!

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Editor's note: Minor updates made to this article which was originally published in 2020.