By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster.
Chris Scott, chief meteorologist with The Weather Network, said Canadians can count on some sunny days to put a bounce in their step after a long winter.
“There’s going to be some challenges. We’re not out of the woods for winter, but we’ve certainly put the worst behind us and there’s some really nice days ahead,” said Scott, adding that people should get out and enjoy the sunshine when the daily forecast calls for it.
The Weather Network predicts that March will bring extended tastes of early spring to Ontario and Quebec after a particularly wintry February. But Scott said the province should brace for a period of colder weather in mid-spring before more consistent warmth sets in.
The Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia, with lower-than-average temperatures in the offing for the first half of the season.
An above-normal snowpack will make for excellent skiing conditions but also a heightened risk for spring flooding when warm weather finally arrives, Scott said.
The Weather Network’s outlook suggests March will be dramatically warmer through the Prairies, but indicates western parts of the region will struggle to reach consistently mild temperatures. The network said it’s concerned that drought conditions south of the border could become more widespread and affect southern parts of the region by the start of the growing season.
Scott predicted temperatures exceeding seasonal norms in Atlantic Canada, but said the region is still at risk for high-impact, late-winter storms.
In Northern Canada, colder than normal spring temperatures are expected for southern Yukon, while eastern Nunavut will be warmer than usual.
“There’s going to be good days (for outdoor activities) in every part of the country, you’re just going to have to pick your battles,” Scott said.
The meteorologist did have good news for most of Canada’s largest river valleys, predicting they would be spared disastrous floods in the months ahead.
Scott said the Red River Valley in Manitoba, the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valleys in Ontario and Quebec, as well as the Saint John River valley in New Brunswick likely won’t have to contend with dangerously high water levels in March and April.
“That’s because we don’t have the tremendous snowpacks that are the antecedent condition that you need to get really severe spring flooding,” said Scott. “That’s really good news in places, especially in Eastern Canada, that have been hit with floods.”