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Is winter really over in Toronto?


Ice cream, anyone?
Ice cream, anyone?

Lyndsay Morrison

March 22, 2012 — Temperature records have been shattered in the GTA over the last two weeks, and on Thursday Toronto was hotter than it has ever been in March. But how long will it last?

The city's beachfronts were popular places to be Thursday
The city's beachfronts were popular places to be Thursday

In light of this recent March "heatwave" in sections of Canada, many Torontonians are asking the same question: Should we put away our winter coats for good?

The short answer: No, no yet. 

"This stretch of warm March weather has been obliterating records across a large section of Canada and the northern U.S.," says Chris Scott, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "However, it is only March after all, and we shouldn’t pack the winter clothing completely out of reach."

The previous warmest March’s for Toronto were back in 1945 and 1946. In April of both those years, Toronto saw accumulating snow. Our most recent March flirtation with early spring was two years ago.
While April 2010 ended up being quite a mild month overall, we did have a cold snap and a trace of snow across the GTA early in the month. 

So, what's ahead?

"It’s back to reality as we head into the weekend," says Scott. "In fact, you’ll probably need the winter coat early next week as some chilly air is ushered in by brisk northerly winds." 

Thursday's hot temperatures
Thursday's hot temperatures

Forecasters at The Weather Network say to expect a much more typical roller coaster of temperatures to round out March, meaning you’ll need many different options in the closet to dress for a given day. At this point, they do not see any concrete indications of a snow storm to worry about, but they do happen this time of the year and into early April. 

"Remember last year? A year ago (March 23rd, 2011) there was a widespread heavy snowfall across the GTA of 10-15 cm," recalls Scott. "There is nothing like this on the immediate horizon, although we’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather pattern as we head into the start of April for any possible trouble."

Temperatures are expected to fall back to seasonal values as we move into the weekend. For a closer look, be sure to check your local forecast.

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