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Calendar says spring. Weather says otherwise

On February 2, Wiarton Willie crawled out of his hole and failed to see his shadow, thus forecasting an early spring. Six weeks later, we finally have definitive proof that groundhogs make for shoddy weathermen. March 20 was the first day of spring, but you might want to cancel that trip to the beach.

“It looks like poor Wiarton Willie doesn’t have a chance – winter is just going to keep going on and on,” said Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The coldest winter in decades will continue just a little longer, with colder-than-normal temperatures expected to extend past March and into April.

“While we’ll likely say goodbye to the depth of cold we’ve had to deal with in January and February, as temperatures gradually warm up a bit they still will remain a few degrees below the seasonal averages for the next month or month-and-a-half,” said Coulson.

He added, “Even traditionally we do get a few centimetres of snow during the month of April anyway, so it looks like that chance will stay with us into this April as well.”

Snowstorms will become less of a concern. Instead, other forms of precipitation will take their place.

“As we get further on into March and April, there’s more chance we’re going to be dealing with just rain. But for the next few weeks there’s still a chance we’ll be dealing with a messy mix of precipitation: rain, freezing rain, and snow as temperatures stay around that freezing mark.”

That’s hardly encouraging news, and working at Environment Canada, Coulson finds that the most common emotion among Ontarians is frustration.

“I think it’s just been the length of this winter. We started with chilly temperatures back in December; we stayed on the cold side right through January, February, and the first part of March. I think most folks are just looking for a bit of a break – three of four days in a row where we can see some above-seasonal temperatures. It’s just unfortunate we can’t seem to deliver on that.”

Coulson’s advice? “I wouldn’t get rid of the snow tires just yet. I wouldn’t get rid of the parka, either,” he said.

“We are still looking at some pretty chilly temperatures to start off the work week next week, and it’s a good idea to keep up with the latest forecasts because of the changeability of the weather. What exactly you’re going to be driving in could change from day to day.”

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