Is Old Man Winter losing his grip early?
Unusually warm days are bringing smiles to everyone’s face but weather guru says keep those parkas handy
It’s not spring. But double-digit temperatures are certainly making it feel like it is.
By the time this week is over, four temperature records could be smashed in Hamilton.
Saturday hit 13.2 C, breaking the previous 9.7 C record.
Sunday hit 12.9 C, eclipsing the previous 12 C record.
Wednesday hit 14 C, erasing the previous 11.7 C record.
And Thursday the temperature is forecasted to reach 16 C, outdoing the previous 14.3 C record.
“This is quite something. This has to be one of the warmest weeks we’ve ever seen in February,” said Environment Canada senior climatologist and weather author/guru Dave Phillips. But don’t kid yourself. Winter isn’t over yet. There will be cold and snow to come in March before the season is finally over, he says.
By Sunday, the mercury is expected to slip back to temperatures more normal for this time of year — a high of 1 C and low of -5 C.
“I think there is still some winter left,” Phillips said. “I wouldn’t write the final chapter on it.”
Joe Lindley, the owner of Lindley Farms, says temperatures that get too high, too soon can be of concern with fruit trees, strawberries and raspberries, among other plants.
“The problem is when everything breaks dormancy and you have a cold snap,” he said. “But I don’t think we are at the critical point just yet ... Certainly if we were to have two or three weeks of above-normal temperatures like (Wednesday), we could be in to trouble.”
Werner Plessl — executive director of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, which runs the Hamilton Waterfront Outdoor Rink by the bayfront — says the skating facility will be closed until at least Sunday.
“It’s just not hard enough to skate on, so we are taking the opportunity to take the ice out and clean it off and, hopefully, it will get cooler on Sunday and we can make ice again early next week.”
The Hamilton Conservation Authority says skating and ice fishing at Valens Lake and Fifty Point are suspended until further notice.
Normally, Phillips said, we would get 32 days of temperatures below -10 up till the end of February.
This year we’ll have 16, half the norm. Last year was another warmer-than-usual year with only 22 days at or below the -10 C threshold.
Two years ago, there were 53 days and three years ago, 52.
It’s meant winter sports have taken a hit. “We were told it was going to be a big winter. But it hasn’t been,” said Louise Sharpley at Adventure Attic in Dundas.
The HMCS Haida was a little hard to spot during a foggy Wednesday. Enjoy these balmy February days while they last, one weather expert says.