WHILE Manitoba digs itself out from an early winter storm, unusually warm weather in parts of Ontario and Quebec on Monday was threatening to smash temperature records in some regions for the second day in a row.
Environment Canada said the Prairies will remain cold, but should get some clearer skies after blizzard-like conditions rolled across the region during the weekend before breaking Sunday night.
Ontario got a mix of warm and winter-like weather on Monday, with residents in the province's south ditching sweaters for lighter attire as temperatures in many municipalities reached the high teens, while Ottawa peaked at 20 C.
Those living in Ontario's north were advised to keep their snow shovels close at hand, as a special weather statement warned of up to 15 centimetres of snow on the heels of Sunday flurries.
Environment Canada said the record-setting Remembrance Day warmth was triggered by the winter storm in northern Ontario, which pulled warm air up from the Gulf of Mexico.
Light snow and sub-freezing temperatures greeted Prairie residents Monday after weekend snowstorms dumped more than 20 centimetres in Manitoba, leading to the closure of a 150-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg until mid-day on Sunday.
The weather fluctuations shouldn't come as too much of a shock, said Beverly Archibald, director of True North Weather Consulting Inc., a specialized forecasting firm based in Edmonton.
"Canadians have to realize that there are always extremes in weather. We are very rarely right at normal," said the former Environment Canada meteorologist. "We've seen that in Eastern Canada because of the frankenstorm (Sandy) and events of the last weekend compounding our idea that the weather has been quite unusual."
But Archibald said it's likely when climatologists look back and parse the factors behind the recent weather patterns, they'll narrow things down to one main culprit -- El Ni±o, a warming of surface ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific.
-- The Canadian Press