Is spring heartbreak ahead for southern Ontario?

As we enter the final weeks of meteorological winter, spring-like temperatures could start to tease their way across the border.

‘Tis the season for warm fronts to stop just before the international border.

We have high confidence for the above seasonal conditions across southern Ontario for the end of February, but it’s all about the details and the extreme day-to-day variability.

Atmospheric heights Feb 19 2024

In the next couple of weeks, the first signs of spring are popping up across the U.S. It’s the time of year when warm fronts from the Ohio Valley drift tantalizingly close to southern Ontario. Below is a sketch of the upper levels to finish February and enter March.

Some computer models are also projecting the city of Chicago to approach 20 degrees next week, as well:


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Generally at this time of year, above-seasonal temperatures are brought in by low-pressure systems pushing the warmer air north, and a tendency for troughing across Western Canada will amplify the ridge downstream.

There’ll still be the occasional glancing blow of colder air, as reflected by next weekend, but it certainly isn’t the average or persistent pattern for the next few weeks.

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Atmospheric heights Ontario Feb 19 2024

Astonishingly, Ottawa hasn’t recorded a temperature of -20°C, or even -19°C this winter season, and the city is quickly running out of time to do so. It would be the first time on record that a winter didn’t include a -20°C degree reading or colder.

Ottawa temp difference Feb 2024

SEE ALSO: Canadians went on a vacation this winter and didn’t even know it

The warm front tease

During the final few days of the month, as we approach meteorological spring, the mild temperatures building across the U.S. will attempt to push northward, but will likely fall just short of the Great Lakes.

ON Temp Mar 2024

This is often the case as we enter a transitional season. If a low-pressure system develops and lifts north, it could temporarily boost our temperatures well above normal, and to even record levels, but the Great Lakes are still comparatively chilly, even at record-warm values.

Be prepared for sharp temperature gradients over the next couple of weeks, as spring begins to blossom south of the border.


Stay tuned to The Weather Network for more forecast updates for southern Ontario.