Major temperature swap underway in Canada, West sees warmth as the East cools

Dr. Doug Gillham
·3 min read
Major temperature swap underway in Canada, West sees warmth as the East cools
Major temperature swap underway in Canada, West sees warmth as the East cools

Spring is off to a very warm start across most of Canada. The various shades of orange and red on the temperature anomaly map below highlight the above seasonal temperatures that have dominated regions east of the Rockies since late February.

However, it has been a very different story across most of British Columbia and Northern Canada where spring has struggled and cooler than seasonal temperatures have dominated.

tempanomally
tempanomally

This pattern is well illustrated by the temperatures that we will continue to see across the country this weekend. Take a look at the high temperatures that are in the forecast as we kick off the weekend on Saturday. Much of southern Ontario (away from the shores of the Great Lakes) and southern Quebec will see temperatures more typical of June, while the high of -11°C in Whitehorse is near seasonal for Christmas!

saturdaytemps
saturdaytemps

A major shift in the pattern will slowly unfold during the upcoming week. First, warm spring weather will finally burst onto the scene across the West. By mid-to-late week, the South Coast of B.C. will see temperatures reach the upper teens and even the lower 20s with abundant sunshine.

Meanwhile, much colder weather will shift east across the Prairies. Widespread snow is likely for Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan with parts of the region seeing totals of 10-20+ cm early next week and temperatures will be more typical of early March.

wednesdaytemps
wednesdaytemps

Across Ontario and Quebec, the pattern change will be slower to develop. During the upcoming week, temperatures will be much cooler than this past week, but still on the warm side of seasonal. However, lakeshore areas that did not get as warm this week will have a less noticeable drop in temperatures. Across Atlantic Canada, temperatures will be within a few degrees of seasonal.

During the third week of April, the very warm pattern will continue across B.C. and warmer weather will slowly spread east across the western Prairies. However, a deep trough in the jet stream is expected to develop over Ontario and Quebec.

patternchange
patternchange

This will bring an extended period of near seasonal and even below seasonal temperatures to the region and that pattern is expected to continue into the fourth week of April, as well. Cooler than seasonal temperatures will also spread into the Maritimes at times, while Newfoundland should be near seasonal.

Fortunately, seasonal temperatures steadily climb by one or two degrees per week as we progress through the month of April, so this pattern change will not take us back to winter, though some places could still see some snow. However, it appears that the second half of April will not bring as much warm weather as what we have seen during the first ten days of the month.

For Ontario and Quebec, this is an all too familiar spring pattern as we have seen extended periods of chilly weather during the majority of the spring seasons in recent years. While many will be disappointed by this period of cooler weather, we do not think that this setback will take over our memory of the season as it did last year. A warmer pattern should return much more quickly than last year during May.