Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cheer up, Canadians. This weather can't last forever

  • Print

TORONTO -- Canadians may not agree on much, but today they're coming together with hatred for two people -- Old Man Winter and Mother Nature.

Social media are abuzz with laments about frigid temperatures, high winds, freezing rain and even heavy snowfalls that lashed Ontario before moving east.

Many of the western provinces are still buried under several centimetres of snow.

But Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says Canadians shouldn't be so surprised.

He says April is the most unpredictable stretch of the year, adding most cities report snowfall at some point during the month.

Phillips said Canadians may have been lulled into a false sense of security based on last year's unusually warm spring.

"We were spoiled so much by last year. March and April, we went from slush to sweat and we didn't really have a spring," Phillips said in a telephone interview. "And spring can be difficult because it's essentially when we reset the map from a winter to a summer mode."

Phillips said the volatile weather that defines April is caused by the frequent clash between cold and warm air systems struggling for dominance. The result is a mixed bag of precipitation ranging from rain to snow and temperatures that fluctuate between seasonal extremes.

The clash was very much in evidence across Ontario on Friday as the province dug out from what looked and felt like a winter storm. Electricity provider Hydro One said at least 25,000 people were without power after freezing rain and high winds downed power lines across the province.

Extreme weather alerts remained in effect in Ottawa, where most school buses were forced off the road. And throughout Ontario, people shovelled driveways, rearranged schedules and tried to cope with the fact spring had not yet sprung.

The system was expected to reach Quebec later Friday, while the Maritimes were set to brace for up to 15 centimetres of snow later this weekend. A similar snowfall from a different system was forecast to fall over Alberta, Phillips said.

Social-media chatter indicated most Canadians were less than impressed.

"Not a fan of this vile weather out there. Where is the sun? Where is the TO heat we're used to in April?!," asked Twitter user @erinkmckay.

"Nothing says mid-April like a 20-cm snowfall warning. Thanks for that one Mother Nature," wrote Prairie dweller (at)mckenzicle.

Some tried to cope with inclement conditions through humour.

"Hey Toronto, if you're still deciding on weather-appropriate clothes for today, I suggest a tarp layered over a duvet," advised @lauradilabio.

Still others managed to find a silver lining.

"Appreciate the team work Mother Nature, extra three days to study for my exam!" wrote @--heathcook.

Phillips said April is preparing yet another virtuoso display of unpredictability in the coming days.

Ontarians reaching for mittens on the weekend may be donning T-shirts by next week as temperatures soar to as high as 18 C.

Similar relief awaits the eastern provinces, but areas west of Manitoba may have headaches in store as unusually heavy snowfalls melt away and usher in what promises to be a punishing flood season.

Still, Phillips urged winter-weary Canadians not to despair.

"It may be winter's last hurrah," he said. "The farther you are from April 1, then the more difficult it is for winter to come back."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2013 A27

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Downtown BIZ Watch patrol along Main Street

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......
  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google