Why it still feels like winter in Canada - and when spring is arriving

It’s been a long winter for most of the country with spring weather largely nowhere to be seen. It’s midway through April and some regions are still experiencing snow storms and bitter cold, like the ice storm that slammed eastern Canada last weekend.

“Its been an awful early spring, no question about it,” said Brett Anderson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather. “It’s been miserable and I think everyones tired of it.”

So why has winter been hanging around for so long? According to Anderson, a system called a ‘blocking pattern’ has been dominating up in northern Canada and Greenland into the Arctic region.

“Over the Arctic, its actually warmer than normal and not that stormy but the cold air that’s generated …has to go somewhere,” explained Anderson. “It’s forced to go underneath that block and so that Arctic air gets forced much farther south than normal into southern Canada and northern United States. We’ve been stuck in this blocking pattern forcing all these Arctic airs to stay much more further south than usual.”

Spring is finally on the way – sort of.

“What we’re seeing now as we go into next week is that it looks like a much more typical April pattern coming in,” said Anderson. “Probably the rest of this month into early May temperatures will be a bit below normal but not extremely below normal – it’s going to be a cool pattern but not a cold pattern.”

“The Prairies are going to see the warm-up first as we get into the end of this week and into this weekend,” said Anderson.

The next region to feel some warmer weather is Ontario and Quebec, with temperatures expected to become milder by Sunday and then near normal into next week . If you live in Ontario, you’re in luck – there will be a dry spell from Friday to Monday meaning no rain or snow for at least four days.

“In Toronto, Windsor and London, we may be done with accumulating snow for the season,” said Anderson.

The weather looks stable across B.C. into next week with around normal temperatures but on the opposite coast, the Atlantic provinces are going to get hit.

“The Maritimes are going to get some snow in New Brunswick into Thursday night and rain in Nova Scotia and most of Newfoundland,” said Anderson. “There will be a chilly pattern for the weekend into early next week and drier, milder conditions setting up by mid-next week.

“It’s getting back towards normal. That’s a start, and I think most of us will take it.”