What to know about our weirdly warm winter so far (and what's ahead)

Q: What can you say about the weather we’ve experienced so far this winter?

The main story for this winter in the London area is how mild it's actually been. Certainly we've had a week or two, that third week in January, a few days here in February (with) more seasonal temperatures, but generally the overall trend going all the way back to December has been for conditions to be milder than normal.

Q: Just how warm has it been?

December was the second-mildest December on record at the London airport (weather station), which goes back to 1940. The only milder December was in 2015, when it had an average daily temperature of 3.3 C. December 2023 was 2.7 C. February so far is rivaling the mildest one London has had – 2017, when the average temperature for the month was 0.1 C. So far this month, we've also got an average of 0.1 C, but that could change. (January's average of -2.8 C ranks among the 10 mildest Januarys ever in London.)

Q: Why have we been experiencing warm temperatures this winter?

One of the major (reasons) that we knew last fall going into this winter, was that there was going to be a moderate to strong El Nino event. El Nino occurs when the waters of the Pacific are warmer than normal off the coast of South America, which affects wind patterns, weather patterns right around the world (which means we get) somewhat milder-than-normal winters. The other (reason) is the underlying overall influence of climate change itself. As the decades go by, we expect the winters generally to be somewhat milder, the snow to be somewhat less.

Q: What can you say about snowfall totals this winter?

We've still had a fair amount of precipitation this winter, but because of the milder-than-normal conditions, a lot of that precipitation has fallen in the form of rain. We've had a fairly active lake-effect snow season, but it looks like it's been areas closer to Lake Huron that have seen the bigger amounts (of snow).

Q: What can we expect to see for the rest of winter and into spring?

A lot of people have been crossing days off the calendar. The people that are not fans of winter keep saying: “Well, I've made it to Feb.19, and it hasn't been too bad yet.” But March can still be very much a winter month. Right now it's looking to be milder-than-normal, but that doesn't mean we still can't get a big snowstorm in March, or two. There is potentially still lots of winter left to go, but the trend . . . is to be somewhat milder than normal to finish off February and to lead us into March.

Dec. 26, 2023: Warmest minimum (low) temperature of 4.6 C, breaking date's old record of 3.3 C set in 1936.

Dec. 28 2023: Warmest minimum (low) temperature of 5.2 C, breaking date's old record of 1.7 C set in 1940.

Feb. 9, 2024: Warmest minimum (low) temperature of 6.5 C, breaking date's old record of 5.0 C set in 1925.

Feb. 9, 2024: Warmest high temperature of 15.0 C, breaking date's old record of 9.8 C set in 2001.

Brian Williams, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press