Fickle February: Hit and run winter continues to lack commitment

Winter got off to a strong start across western and central Canada during December, but then went missing for several weeks during January across most of Canada.

The various shades of orange and red on the temperature anomaly map below highlight the warmer-than-normal temperatures, which were found across most of North America during the month of January.

WXBell - Temp Anomaly - Jan
WXBell - Temp Anomaly - Jan

However, winter finally did make an appearance across most of Canada during the final week of January.

Will winter stick around for a while this time? To find out, please read on.

The first week of February will briefly feature classic Canadian winter weather and even record-breaking cold temperatures. Frigid Arctic air will spread from the Prairies to Ontario, Quebec and across Atlantic Canada late this week and into the start of the weekend. Numerous record-cold temperatures will be broken along with a dangerous wind chill.

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Below is a look at the temperature pattern for the first five days of February. The various shades of blue and green highlight the widespread colder-than-normal temperatures across central, eastern, and northern Canada.

WXBell - temp anomaly - Feb
WXBell - temp anomaly - Feb

However, after delivering a quick blast of frigid weather, winter will once again flee the scene. Above-normal temperatures will quickly spread across most of Canada again as we head into the second week of February.

Here is a model forecast for what the following five days (February 6-10) will look like:

WXBell - temp anomaly - Feb2
WXBell - temp anomaly - Feb2

While northern Canada will remain colder than normal, above-normal temperatures are once again expected to dominate across most of southern Canada. However, keep in mind that it is still possible to have high-impact winter weather with above-normal temperatures.

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Looking ahead to mid and late February, we expect that near-normal or colder-than-normal temperatures will return to western Canada.

Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures are expected to dominate from the Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada. This region will still see quick shots of cold weather at times, but winter will continue to lack commitment across this region.

We also expect an active storm track from the Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada, with messy systems that will bring snow, ice and even rain at times to the region.

There are some signs that colder weather will become more widespread across Canada during the final week of February, but forecast confidence in that pattern change is lower since that is still several weeks away.

Overall, we expect that February will deliver more winter weather than our lackluster January did, but for most of Canada it will lack persistent cold weather.

Below is our forecast map for the month of February — a month that will be fickle with changeable temperatures.

Baron - NatPattern - Feb
Baron - NatPattern - Feb

At this point we expect a similar pattern for much of March.

Will this pattern continue through spring? Please check back on Wednesday, March 1 when we release our official Spring Forecast for the months of March, April, and May.