So long winter, we barely got to know you; milder than normal spring could in store

But remember, March can be moody, April cruel

When we spoke with Environment Canada climatologist, David Phillips, in mid-December he predicted it would not be a harsh winter. There would not be endless days of extreme cold and snowfall would be lighter than usual.

He was right.

Discounting the wind chill factor, he says we had just three days between December 21 and March 20 where the temperature was below -20 Celsius. We usually have to endure at least 12 of them. As for snowfall, we shovelled through about 212 centimetres. The norm is 240 centimetres. We had 28 per cent more snow than usual in the lead-up to winter, through November to the beginning of January.

“I think it was … what our ancestors would call an open and soft kind of a winter but yet we did have some winter for the people that like to ski and snowmobile, it sort of all came in one burst.”

And, as he cautions every year, the switch to spring does not mean we’re clear of further snowfall, “About 10% of our annual total falls in this spring period, we typically get about three or four days where the temperature can get below minus 10.”

All we have to do, says Phillips, is look back to March 2012.

“The last day of winter was one of the warmest days of the summer here in Barrie. We had temperatures that rocketed up to the high 20s for 10 days … the apple trees didn’t just bud, they blossomed. And then, of course, we had killing frost after that and did $100-million damage to the apple industry in this part of Ontario.”

And don’t forget May 2020.

“We had three days above 30 at the end of May. Two weeks prior to that we had 15 centimetres of snow and six days of killing frost temperatures.”

Phillips is optimistic as we launch into spring this year. His computer models are showing a milder than normal spring and normal in terms of precipitation, though he is quick to point out, “All of it can change in one storm.”

Spring arrives at 5:37 a.m. Saturday.

banner image: file photo