‘It just didn’t happen:’ Toronto winter canceled, says Environment Canada climatologist

A senior climatologist with Environment Canada says winter has been “cancelled” in Toronto as this season has been unusually warm.

“Winter didn’t happen. It was canceled in the Toronto area. And that was probably the situation across the country,” Dave Phillips said in an interview with CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

“It was warm, tropical. I can’t think of better warm words to describe what this winter (has been like). It just didn’t happen.”

Phillips added that Toronto had never seen warmer December, January and February until this season. The city typically sees 34 -10C days in those three months, but Toronto only recorded nine cold days.

“It was actually a little bit warmer than normal, and almost four and a half degrees warmer than you would normally expect,” Phillips said.

“There has never been a warmer winter in more than a century and a half downtown.”

While not surprised, Phillips said it was still shocking to see the numbers. In February alone, several high temperature records were broken in Toronto.


Looking ahead to this winter, meteorologists warned that the climate phenomenon known as El Niño would play a factor and cause above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation levels.

The boy It occurs when surface temperatures rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean region extending west from Ecuador, affecting the global pattern of the jet stream.

Phillips said that in addition to El Niño, which he said was the third warmest in 70 years, climate change is also behind the mild winter.

“We know our winters aren’t what they used to be. We may still be the Great White North, but you wouldn’t know it from our winters. They are so tame, open and mild compared to previous years.” Phillips said.

“All of those forces were moving in the same direction: El Niño, warm oceans, climate change.”

The chief climatologist added that the unusually warm winter season was felt all over the world.

“There has never been a warmer winter globally than what we saw in December, January and February. (It’s) pretty remarkable,” Phillips said.


Although spring officially begins in less than two weeks, Phillips said residents shouldn’t put away their snow shovels just yet.

He noted that Toronto usually sees 20 centimeters of snow this month.

“I mean, you can be seduced into thinking that winter is not going to happen, but sometimes we know that nature… really has the trump card here, and I would never bet against winter returning to a winter climate.” Phillips said.

“The only thing is that, if it happens, it is usually short-lived, and what nature arrives one day can take away the next day in terms of snow.”

And Toronto can get something snow this weekend. Friday will see a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 9C and a 40 percent chance of showers by the end of the night.

Saturday will be wet with rain or snow in the forecast and a high of 6C and a low of -1C.

Gusts with a maximum of 2 C are expected on Sunday.

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