March 23, 2017
By Sarah Sobanski
And…Time. Someone call it.
Winter is officially over. It’s spring! It’s cloudy and dreary and wet outside the office window today, March 21, but I couldn’t care less. It’s minus 1 degree out right now and I might never wear my winter coat again.
There will be no more shovelling. No more scraping the car off for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No more getting snow dumped on my head because the snow banks were so high the guy shovelling on the other side couldn’t see there were people standing there.
I mean, phew, that was a close one. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. That might have been the longest winter in the history of well — I can’t be sure, I don’t remember a winter worse, but then they say you block out painful memories. Maybe it’s added to because we had an El Nino winter last year, or a light winter. Last year’s season we had three winter events by Christmas, this winter we had a storm late October and it just never stopped hammering us. The contrast was equivalent to a polar bear swim.
I know what you’re thinking. Sarah, last year we had snow in the summer, keep your pants on. Too late, I’m already running for the lake.
It’s true that the springs and early summers of Canada can be a tad unpredictable, to say the least. As I peruse Environment Canada’s website, I see that between 1996 and 2016 the hottest day we had on March 21 was plus 27 degrees in 2012, and the coldest was minus 19 degrees in 2002 — that was with 11.3 millimetres of precipitation. So really, I could be jumping the groundhog a little bit, but it could go either way.
That being said, according to a report by CTV, we’re going to have a warmer spring than usual. Starting to get your hopes up now?
In the report, senior climatologist Dave Phillips of Environment Canada suggested that Ontario will see spring before most other provinces. Most of the eastern parts of the country will hear the birds chirping and the feel the sunshine warm their skin — I’m giving you an excuse to rub it in.
With the buds however, it’s important to remember that all this warm weather is going to be causing a lot of melting. Bancroft’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has released two watershed conditions statements to date. There will likely be more in the future. While both have expired, the last released was a watershed conditions statement – water safety on March 10.
Just to jog your memory if you’re waking from hibernation like I am, a watershed conditions statement – water safety “indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.” This is one of four categories of condition statements including flood outlook which “gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions,” flood watch which suggests “potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities,” and flood warnings where “flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.”
Keep an eye out for flood conditions and take it easy on wet roads.
If you need me, I’ll be hiding Easter eggs.