First day of spring cold across the country but forecasters expect a fairly 'normal' season ahead

Spring has sprung today, but it seems no matter where you live in Canada, you wouldn't know it by looking outside.

"If we sent out search parties for spring, we would not find hide nor hair of it," said Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips, according to CBC News. "Everyone is in misery, and everyone has a cross to bear."

Glancing at the weather forecasts for this week confirms that. Cold and rainy on the west coast. Frigid wind chills in the prairies and northern Ontario. Cold and snowy from southern Ontario to the Maritimes. This persistent blast of winter weather for the country is due to a wide, cold low-pressure system over northern Ontario dragging frigid arctic winds down over the prairies and looping them around over southern Ontario and out to Atlantic Canada.

[ Related: Why spring begins 'early' this year ]

Of course, no one is suggesting that we live in a world where the moment we pass the vernal equinox, Edvard Grieg's Morning Mood starts up, the snow vanishes and the flowers start blooming, but compared to last March's record-setting temperatures, we're definitely seeing a change back to fairly typical spring weather this time around.

"Compared to last year, it's a good old fashioned winter," said Phillips. "It's not a conspiracy or end of climate change, it's just the kind of spring closer to normal than last year."

So, we're not off to a very warm start, but what can we expect for the rest of the season?

The Environment Canada seasonal forecasts show a trend towards warmer and drier weather for the eastern half of the country, although that's a bit hit-and-miss for Ontario temperatures. For the prairies, it might be warmer than normal to the south and wetter than normal in central and northern regions. However, a glance at the forecast's 'historical percent correct' map for shows that temperatures in the prairies just vary too much in years with similar weather patterns, so it's harder to get an accurate prediction, and precipitation patterns just change too much, in general.

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[ More Geekquinox: More snow on the way for Ontario and Quebec ]

The place to start looking for spring, where it usually warms up first, is in the most southern region of the country — Windsor, Ontario.

"Until spring arrives there, it won't arrive anywhere," said Phillips. "Nature's taking her sweet time delivering what we want."

"My advice always to Canadians is that it’s too premature to take your snow tires off and put your snow shovel away," he added. "If it’s any consolation, there’s always someone worse off than you."

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