Toronto has had about 30 hours of clear skies so far this winter, senior climatologist says

This year has been an unusually dreary winter in Toronto, almost akin to a “Vancouver winter” with more cloudy days than normal, according to an experienced climatologist.

Environment Canada’s David Phillips told CTV News Toronto in an interview on Sunday that normally Toronto would have seen approximately 190 to 200 hours of clear skies throughout the winter so far.

“Well, all we’ve had is 30,” he said. “It’s almost as if the sun no longer appears. “It’s almost like winter in Vancouver.”

What brings sunny skies to Toronto are cold days, Phillips said.

“My wife always says, ‘Well, could we have a warm, sunny day in the winter?’ I said, ‘No, it’s not possible.’ It will either be sunny and cold, or it will be cloudy or mild,” Phillips said.

He told CTV News Toronto that the brutally cold conditions the Prairies are currently experiencing are an example, with some regions dropping to -55 C with wind chills despite clear, sunny skies.

But in Toronto, the weather has been warmer than typical in winter.

In December, Phillips said temperatures were, on average, five degrees warmer than normal and this pattern has continued so far in January.

“Believe [Sunday] “It’s going to be a historic day because it’s going to be the coldest day of the winter,” Phillips said.

“My goodness, we may see the first double-digit temperature below zero – -14 [Celsius] “It will be the projected minimum.”

Aside from an increased number of cloudy days, Phillips said Toronto has also seen more rain and fog this season.

“We have had rain for 28 days [in] November, December and January to date. We’ve had three traces (they would be non-measurable amounts), but normally we would have around 21,” she said.

Toronto has also seen about 20 days of fog during the same time period, when normally the city would have about five days.

But Phillips clarified that Environment Canada does not distinguish whether it is fog all day or just an hour.

There have also been only six days this winter season when Torontonians can look out and see white snow on the ground, he added.

“At other times during the day, it’s either melting or it’s rained, it’s slushy,” Phillips said.

Next week, which Phillips called the end of winter, will bring the coldest seasonal weather to Toronto. Torontonians can expect “every freezing day” ahead, where every hour will be below freezing, from Sunday to next Saturday.

Blue Monday, which falls on the third Monday of the month and is considered the saddest day of the year (although a UK travel company coined the term in a marketing ploy in 2005), is forecast to have mostly sunny skies with a maximum of -10 degrees Celsius.

Clouds and the possibility of gusts are forecast for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, although the sun will appear on Wednesday and Sunday.

Outside of this comparatively colder week ahead, Phillips said this winter could still turn out to be warmer than normal due to El Niño, but it’s too early to know what the rest of this season will look like.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that this coming week could be the coldest of the winter, so far for sure, but it would be the coldest of the entire winter when we could have miserable days in March. […] “We just have to wait and see,” he said.

With files from Tara De Boer

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