March madness: Canada’s month-long, wild ride of weather

Tyler Hamilton and Rachel ModestinoMeteorologists

With the change from winter to spring occurring in March, it can be a month full of tumultuous and joyful weather in Canada. This year didn't disappoint, with several memorable events that took place across the country.

Never sleep on the weather March brings.

Canadians experienced some unique weather stories throughout the month, all thanks to the transition from winter into spring -- sparking a slew of memorable activity from coast to coast.

DON'T MISS: Canada's first severe thunderstorm of the year was followed by snow

British Columbia

Snowfall streak unravels across the South Coast.


A five-month streak with measurable snow turned heads this March. On the 4th and 25th, snowfall flew in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

A low descending from the northwest brought in the necessary instability and colder-than-normal temperatures. It is the first time the airport recorded snow every month from November to March since the winter of 1988-89.

SEE ALSO: B.C. sets high emissions bar for new LNG projects


Brilliant auroras danced across the night skies.

Content continues below

One of the most severe geomagnetic events in recent memory occurred in March. A bucket-list event lit up much of the Prairies' cloudless night sky with colourful northern lights on March 23 and 24. The activity was so intense the aurora was viewed as far south as New Mexico.

DON’T MISS: Allergy season is coming. Get ahead of it with these must-haves

Winnipeg fails to lift above the freezing mark


With the transitional weather March brings, you would expect a roller-coaster of weather and temperatures, which was true for most Canadians, except in Winnipeg.

Winnipegers experienced the entire month below the freezing mark. Even longer is when the city last saw an above-freezing temperature: Feb. 14. Several factors caused this including cloud cover, snowpack, stubborn winds from the north, and being situated under a frequent highway for Arctic air to dive south.

Ontario and Quebec

Toronto, you’ve been thunderstruck. This time it was in a snowstorm.


March featured a thundersnow event unlike any other. For perspective, it's rare for lightning to strike a couple of times when it snows, but this time, we recorded hundreds. Millions across southern Ontario and Quebec experienced this unique Texas low. Although the snowfall was impressive, the eyes were on the sky. The system featured heavy squall-like bands that were very convective, resulting in cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning throughout the evening of March 4.

The first severe thunderstorm was also achieved in March when a line of thunderstorms swept through London, Ont., bringing winds up to 100 km/h. In typical Canadian spring fashion, snowfall followed over the region hours after the event.

Content continues below

Montreal, Que., you also failed to hit a temperature in the double-digits in March, making for quite the delayed start to spring temperatures.

RELATED: From lamb to lion - final days in March feature wild weather in Ontario

Atlantic Canada

Weekend snowstorms were on the menu, especially for Newfoundland.


It was never a dull moment on the East Coast, which was under an active spring storm track. From nor’easters to blizzards, the active weather was a common theme. A particular shoutout to St. John’s, N.L., where several major storms featured heavy snowfall events, accruing more than 70 cm for the month.

WATCH: Icebergs begin annual parade in N.L., and this year will be a busy one