Spring in Leeds-Grenville: roller roaster with a ‘strong finish’ says TWN

In this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 graphic from The Weather Network, forecasters are calling for a normal spring temperature-wise for Eastern Ontario. (The Weather Network via Newswatch Group)

BROCKVILLE – Spring is going to get a slow start but forecasters are predicting a relatively normal spring with an early jump to summer.

The Weather Network is out with its Spring Outlook for Leeds-Grenville for April, May and June.

“Spring, like fall, is a transition season so we see those typical roller-roaster temperatures,” said meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg.

For example, the high Wednesday will be 14-15 degrees and then two days later, on Friday, it will be a high of minus 5.

“We think spring will be off to a bit of a slow start and a little bit of a reminder that winter isn’t over quite yet. But, the good news, is that we’ll have a nice strong finish to spring. So models are indicating that, come April and May, we’ll likely see a transition to more summer-like temperatures and we could be trending above-normal temperature wise as we head into April and May, Sonnenburg said.

The normal highs for Brockville are 3-4 degrees in March, 11-12 degrees in April and 13-19 degrees in May.

As for rain and snow, Sonnenburg said they don’t expect a “soggy spring” but some systems will track into Eastern Ontario.

The outlook is calling for near-normal precipitation. In Leeds-Grenville, the average is 61-63 millimeters (2.4-2.5 inches) in March, 77-80 millimeters (3.0-3.1 inches) in April and 84-87 millimeters (3.3-3.4 inches) in May.

But with sea temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico above normal, storm systems coming to the region could tap into more moisture from the Gulf, leading to storms with more significant amounts of rain, Sonnenburg explained.

The Winter That Wasn’t

While weather-watchers had called for a “classic Canadian winter,” that model didn’t play out in Eastern Ontario.

“Geographically speaking, the majority of the country did on either coast, they saw significant snowstorms…blizzards in the east, record snowfall on the west coast. But for us in Southern Ontario and Eastern Ontario and basically where the majority of the population lives, we ended up seeing still an active storm track, which was what we were thinking. But those storms brought in a little bit more rainfall, freezing rain and ice,” Sonnenburg said.

She said that’s due to the atmospheric pattern, which started with the largest El Nino in history, followed by a fairly weak La Nina event going into winter. But “all of a sudden” that weather transitioned back into an El Nino event.

“We’ve never seen an atmospheric pattern set up quite like this in the past 75 years or since records have been taken. So it’s a pretty interesting setup in our atmosphere for the next few months,” she said.

El Nino and La Nina are climate cycles which affect the water patterns in the Pacific Ocean, which moderate the climate of North America.

Summer Sneak Peak

As for summer, Sonnenburg explained we can expect a warm holiday season but nothing quite as hot and dry as the summer of 2016.

“A very pleasant summer,” Sonnenburg added.

“I think a lot of people are going to be happy. A lot of people aren’t a fan of the extremely hot and dry conditions and some people (last year) were actually complaining. As we head into the summer this year, I think people are going to be happier with this forecast.”

Based on their forecast models, she said regions aren’t looking at possible drought conditions except for British Columbia.