Don't let the last two months fool you into thinking spring is almost here.
That is the word from David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada. In releasing their spring weather outlook, Phillips says though both January and February showed glimpses of spring, the month of March will not be a race to balmy temperatures.
Phillips says their models are showing temperatures in southern Manitoba will be normal to slightly warmer than normal this spring. But that is spread out over the months of March, April and May. He thinks this week's weather will foreshadow what the rest of March will look like.
"We begin on a cool note with temperatures that are two to eight degrees colder than normal," says Phillips. "Then towards the weekend, we see temperatures that are two to six degrees warmer than normal."
Phillips says there is some very cold weather in northern Manitoba, though Environment Canada is not sure whether it will make its way down into the southern half of the province.
He notes as March turns to April, the cold weather will be less dominant. Phillips suggests it will not be a rush to spring this year. He says last year it turned very warm quite suddenly and this year it will be more of a gradual transition.
"We came out of last year with one of the warmest winter/springs on record," says Phillips. "It's not going to be a repeat of that, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's not going to be warmer than normal, it just may not be as mild as what we saw last year."
As for precipitation, Phillips says their models point towards a spring that is a little wetter than normal for southern Manitoba. He notes even though we have been teased with some melting already, that doesn't mean we have seen the last of the white stuff. According to Phillips, between 20 and 25 percent of our winter's snowfall usually comes after March 1st. He notes the difference is that this time of year it is usually wet snow.
Meanwhile, February was another month with above average temperatures in southern Manitoba. Phillips says last month was about 2.5 degrees warmer than normal, following a January that was 3 degrees above average. In fact, he says both January and February of 2017 ended up being milder than those same two months a year earlier. And, Phillips says when you take the average temperatures for the last four months (November, December, January and February), it has been about 3.3 degrees above normal.
The winter of 2016/17 has had 34 days where the temperature dipped below -20 degrees when an average winter produces 43. There have been 10 days where the mercury dropped below -30 degrees, while in an average winter there are 13.