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Dr. Doug Gillham recaps February and takes a look ahead.

February's weather patterns and a look ahead: When will spring arrive?

Dr. Doug Gillham
Meteorologist, PhD

Saturday, February 22, 2014, 12:57 PM -

February has featured well below seasonal temperatures across much of the Canada. During the first half of the month, a coast-to-coast cold pattern resulted in numerous record lows from British Columbia to Newfoundland. 

This was followed by a somewhat milder but more active pattern, but central and especially eastern Canada have also felt the full force of February’s fury with a series of winter storms. 

RELATED: Has it really been that cold in southern Ontario?

Despite a period of mild temperatures, most Canadian cities are still running below seasonal for the month of February.  The map below displays temperature anomalies across North America through the February 20th.  The regions colored in blue, green and voilet have been colder than their average temperatures for the month, while the orange shaded areas such as in the Arctic have been warmer than seasonal.

For those who are hoping for an early spring, unfortunately the news is not good. We are transitioning back into the pattern that we have already seen several times this winter with air masses that originate in Siberia crossing over the North Pole and tracking into central Canada.

The map below shows forecast temperatures relative to which locations would typically see during the final week of February.

Areas shaded in dark blue and purple (from southern Saskatchewan to western Ontario) will see temperatures 10 to 18°C colder than their average temperatures for the last week of February with numerous record lows possible. To the west and east of this region, temperatures will also be below to well seasonal.


As we head into March, there are numerous signs that we will continue to see below seasonal temperatures from the central Prairies to Atlantic Canada. To develop a long range forecast such as this, we analyze the global weather pattern and seek to anticipate changes in the pattern with the assistance of numerous long range models. While the image below is the product of one long range model, it best displays our current thinking with regard to the pattern for March.

The areas in blue in green will most likely see average temperatures for the month that are below seasonal, though there will likely be days during the month that will also provide a taste of spring.  At this point it looks like the best opportunity for an early spring is in British Columbia where above seasonal temperatures are indicated by the various shades of orange.

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