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Cold air returns to southern Ontario

Staff writers
January 14, 2013 — After a weekend that saw record heat and heavy rain, cold air returns to southern Ontario once again.

Sunday's rainfall records
Sunday's rainfall records

Residents across southern Ontario were left questioning the calendar this past weekend. A blast of warm air was making things feel a lot more like spring than the middle of January.

Over 20 communities wrote a new page in the record book on Saturday as temperatures climbed into the double digits.

Toronto saw a daytime high of 14.8C, smashing the previous record of 9.5C set back in 2006. Kitchener and Hamilton also set new records with double-digit highs and St. Catharines was Canada's hot spot, at an even 15C.

"The warm air originated in the Gulf of Mexico, so in addition to the heat, there was a lot of moisture and even record breaking rain in some places Sunday," says Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The city of Hamilton was drenched with 44 mm of rain, which beat the 11.4 mm that fell on January 13, 1979. Toronto's Pearson International Airport reported 29.8 mm on Sunday, more than triple the daily rainfall record of 9.7 mm set back in 1950.

The rain helped to melt away any snowbanks still standing, but it also had local waterways running dangerously fast and high.

Several collisions were reported throughout the day as well as heavy rain reduced visibility and led to slick conditions on the roads.

Three people died early Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a water-filled ditch north of Toronto. Police are trying to determine whether the rainy weather at the time was a factor.

Saturday saw temperature records broken
Saturday saw temperature records broken

The rare January t-shirt weather was short lived with a sharp return to seasonal values Monday.

"There's even the potential for some snow late next week," says Monica Vaswani, another meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The spring-like thaw led to speculation about climate change on the social media with the hashtag "#globalwarming" trending on Twitter in Toronto.

But Vaswani says that people need to be mindful of the bigger picture.

While a warm day in January may be out of the norm, she says it's nearly impossible to attribute an isolated event to climate change, because a variety of factors influence the weather.

Visit theCanadian Cities Indexto keep on top of weather conditions across the country.

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