Enjoying the mild weather this week? Thank the warm air flowing from the south, and thank the lack of snow that’s letting the air stay mild as it sweeps northwards. There’s nothing stopping the warm air as it crosses the continent, explains Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada. “We have no snow or ice to slow it down. The ground is thawed out and the first dibs on any of that warm air coming out of the south is that it normally melts those vestiges of winter. We have not had snow for weeks, so the air arrives almost as warm as it left the south,” he said.
The mild conditions may be just right for the upcoming Elmira Maple Syrup Festival – sunny and warm is just the right combination to bring out visitors – but it hasn’t been ideal for those making the golden stuff in the first place, however. Temperatures have pretty much skipped over the perfect syrup-making days of plus-four degrees during the day and minus-four degrees at night, a fact that may be a bit disconcerting for syrup producers.
“We have had a remarkable string of warm days. Normal highs in the Woolwich area are typically maple syrup weather, with a high of close to four degrees and lows around minus-six,” said Phillips. “That is the normal and that is what would get the sap flowing during the day and slows it down at night so producers can start processing the sap – everyone is happy. Usually we have snow on the ground, which should still be frozen.”
The ground has not been frozen at all this winter, Phillips said, adding it has been quite an unusual winter this year.
“This has been one of the warmest winters with the least amount of snow.”
Spring is definitely in the air as a remarkable string of mild temperatures that began on Mar. 11 will continue through Tuesday in the region. Spring officially arrives on March 20 at 1:14 a.m., we’ve been seduced by mid-to late-spring weather over the last week.
Phillips said his models show that the temperature will stay warm for the next 10 to 14 days, a duration that has the climatologist scratching his head. The region has experienced this kind of heat spell before, however, and these temperatures are not breaking records every day. The duration is longer than normal for any warm spell in the month; typically a mild spell in March lasts six to seven days and then a return to winter occurs, but this one has already lasted 10 days and may go on for 12 or 13 days.
“We will be seeing a high of 21 degrees in the area, which is 12 degrees warmer than it should be. We are also experiencing lows of only 10 degrees, which should be minus six,” said Phillips. “We usually get a little teaser of warm weather in March, but nothing like this.”
With each passing warm day, it gets tougher for winter to return, he explained, but the region is still not out of the woods until the middle of April – we still have more than a month to go.
“April is called the coolest month; we have never had a spring in the community without some snow,” said Phillips. “I think winter conditions will return, but we are not talking mid-January winter we are talking March winter. With all the heat it is going to be hard for winter to return, but I just don’t think it is over until we get to the middle of April.”
At the end of the month temperature should be cooler but still well above average with highs hovering around the eight degree mark and the lows around four degrees, which should make for a perfect Elmira Maple Syrup Festival weekend.