No early spring for Sask., says Environment Canada climatologist

Don't put your snow shovels away just yet. 

Even though the first day of spring is just weeks away, winter is definitely not over in Saskatchewan, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.

Phillips said he expects a March with up-and-down temperatures, but that will generally be cooler than usual — which he said may be disappointing for some.  

"It's frustrating psychologically. We think we've gone through the toughest season of the year. We kind of think as Canadians we're owed good warm weather. But we don't go from slush to sweat," Phillips said on CBC Radio's The Morning Edition.

He said to expect a bit more of the northerly air in March. But moving into April and May, warmer weather should be here to stay.

"Just be a little bit more patient. You have to get through March, then we'll get into … where some of those warm temperatures will have more staying power," he said.

Yo-yo February 

Phillips said the winter has been a bit odd so far — with a milder than usual January, and a February that brought both warm temperatures and bitterly cold ones. 

"We got to February and we saw some of the coldest temperatures of the winter in the first week or so … And then, my gosh, it bounced back up and you had like 12 days in a row with melting temperatures," he said. 

He described February as "two-personalities February," with cold temperatures at the beginning of the month, exceptionally mild conditions in the middle, and then cool again at the end of the month. 

"Certainly not as warm as last February, but I think it really helped the month go quickly when you get that kind of variation from almost one week to the next."

Lack of snowfall

Snowfall has been missing in action for most of the winter in Saskatchewan, according to Phillips. 

In October, there was more snow than in the actual winter months. 

"It's almost like a snow drought that's occurred there. You haven't had any of these monster snowstorms that will close people in," he said.  

But there's still time for a good amount of snow to fall this winter and quench the thirst of farmers' fields, Phillips said.

He said on average, 30 centimetres of snow falls after March 1 — which is about 30 per cent of the yearly total. 

What happened to La Nina?

Climatologists were originally predicting a cold winter in Saskatchewan due to La Nina.

While El Nino pushes warm water and winds Saskatchewan's way, La Nina does the opposite.

However, La Nina didn't come out to play as expected. 

"The problem with that cold water in the Pacific … it kind of disappeared below the water there before the first day of winter, and so I think all bets were off as to what kind of a winter it's going to be."