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All-time March records broken in eastern Canada

Swimming in Oxford, Nova Scotia on March 22
Swimming in Oxford, Nova Scotia on March 22

Staff writers

March 22, 2012 — Another day, another round of shattered temperatures in central and eastern Canada. March's above-seasonal trend continues.

Hot temperatures in eastern Canada Thursday
Hot temperatures in eastern Canada Thursday

It's been a week of record-breaking temperatures in Canada. 

On Wednesday and Thursday, however, some major cities were warmer than they have ever been before in March. 

"We've had an unprecedented warm spell that has broken almost every temperature record for half the country," says Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Many of those are all-time March records, where cities have never seen temperatures like this."

In fact, cities like Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredericton and Hamilton broke their all-time record for March twice this week. Both Wednesday and Thursday were the hottest days ever recorded for the month. 

Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City also broke their all-time March records this week. Windsor, Ontario was one of the hottest spots at 28.4 degrees Thursday afternoon. 

"What's amazing about this 'heatwave' if you will is just how vast it has been," says Davis. "We've had records broken from Winnipeg to Halifax, and all the way north to Hudson Bay. Moosonee cracked the 20-degree mark for the first time ever in March."

So, what's the cause?

Busy ice cream truck in Toronto
Busy ice cream truck in Toronto

"The jet stream is a big reason why we've been experiencing this kind of weather," says Dayna Vettese, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Over the last little while, we've had a strong ridge over central and eastern Canada. That's led to warm temperatures from the United States."

It had already been a mild winter for many parts of Canada, including the Great Lakes Basin. Davis says the lake temperatures are also warmer than normal right now. 

"They're unfathomably warm," he says. "This is typically the coldest time for the lakes, yet they are as warm right now as they normally are in May or June."

In fact, a third of Lake Erie is normally covered in ice at this point in the season. The lake has been ice-free for the past 3 weeks. 

So, how long will the 'March Mildness' last?

Forecasters at The Weather Network say it's not time to put away that winter coat for good. 

"It's back to reality for many Canadians this weekend and into next week," says Davis. "Temperatures will fall back to seasonal or slightly above for this time of year."

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