Warmer winter expected for Windsor, says Environment Canada climatologist

A high of 5 C is in the forecast for Windsor-Essex on Tuesday, but there's also a rainfall warning in effect. (TJ Dhir/CBC - image credit)
A high of 5 C is in the forecast for Windsor-Essex on Tuesday, but there's also a rainfall warning in effect. (TJ Dhir/CBC - image credit)

January is usually a month of snow and sub-zero temperatures, but this year's forecast will be a different story in Windsor-Essex, Ont.

A high of 5 C is expected Tuesday, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and that's well above the average temperature of –0.3 C. A high of 11 C is expected for Wednesday.

"January looks like it's going to be warmer than normal," Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with ECCC, told Windsor Morning host Nav Nanwa. "So a lot of people who love winter recreation, they're going to have to sit this out for a little while longer."

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

Tuesday is also expected to bring heavy rain, with ECCC issuing a rainfall warning for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. Anywhere from 15 to 25 millimetres of rain are expected to fall and localized flooding in low-lying areas may occur, according to the warning.

Phillips said frozen ground will make it difficult to absorb the water.

"Underneath that soft ground at the top, there is still some frost below that," he said. "The snow has melted, but the ground is saturated. In a certain area, it could be more of a drenching. [The water] can't really run off, can't percolate into the ground.

"The precipitation of that is short lived in terms of intensity, but nevertheless it's there."

Tony Smyth/CBC
Tony Smyth/CBC

A rainfall warning for Windsor-Essex was also issued on Friday. According to data collected by the Water Survey of Canada, water levels increased at the rivers in the county where data is collected.

The Ruscom River saw an increase of 0.4 metres in water levels from Dec. 29 to 31, an increase of about 11.7 per cent. In the same timeframe, water levels at the Little River increased by 0.4 metres, which is an increase of about 37 per cent.

Canard River saw an increase of 0.2 metres in water levels from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, an 11 per cent increase.

Phillips said temperatures for February and March will also be warmer than normal.

"La Niña is dead in the water," he said. "It's not having the effect that it would have. My sense is that there will still be some winter ahead, but it won't be too long."