The sap fes­ti­val is a sign of spring, but the weather has some catch­ing up to do

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI


HIGHS of Fe­bru­ary, you would be for­given for think­ing we had es­caped the chilly lows of the sea­son for good. But the weather is sel­dom as straight­for­ward as that, and we may be in for a few more weeks of cool­ness be­fore we kick off then spring sea­son in earnest, sug­gests a se­nior cli­ma­tol­o­gist with En­vi­ron­ment Canada.

“My best ad­vice, there’s that lit­tle piece of folk­lore that says, ‘til April’s dead, change not a thread,’” said David Phillips. “Don’t put away the parka or the bal­a­clava, and don’t take the snow tires off quite yet be­cause we just don’t see a rush to spring com­ing – some­time in April, but cer­tainly not in the be­gin­ning.”

For those head­ing to the Elmira Maple Syrup Fes­ti­val this Satur­day, tem­per­a­tures a shade cooler than nor­mal is what’s ex­pected; but keep an eye on the fore­cast and plan ahead, and the day should be every bit as en­joy­able as ever.

“Nor­mal highs in Elmira, Guelph, Kitch­ener would be a high of plus-7, not plus-2, plus-3, plus-1,” said Phillips of the cur­rent fore­casts. “It’s not that the nights are so cold, but it’s just that we just can’t get any calo­ries of heat from the day and that, I think, is dis­con­cert­ing to a lot of peo­ple.”

Spring cer­tainly seemed to ar­rive early this year in the fi­nal two weeks of Fe­bru­ary, with tem­per­a­tures hit­ting balmy highs of 15 de­grees, and the pre­cip­i­ta­tion re­stricted to rain and not snow.

“I think we were se­duced in some ways to think that spring had al­ready ar­rived. We had put up with a good amount of win­ter, some long bouts of cold and some snow – not record cold, not record snow, but enough of that to know where we live,” he said.

While Fe­bru­ary of­fered a glim­mer of hope, March, by con­trast, was any­thing but de­pend­able. The tem­per­a­ture cov­ered quite a range over the 31 days, from highs of plus-9 to lows of mi­nus-9.

“March has re­ally been March,” sum­ma­rized Phillips. “It’s the fickle month, very fit­ful kind of weather. You of­ten get a lit­tle ... sum­mer wants to show up and win­ter wants stay on ... So I think it will be chalked up as it came in like a lion and it went out like a lion, and that wasn’t very nice.”

While March brings about the of­fi­cial start of spring, April is the month when we can ex­pect the most warm­ing to take place in any given year. Typ­i­cal weather in April is about eight de­grees higher than March, so warm weather is in­deed on the way, says Phillips. How­ever, when in the month it ac­tu­ally ar­rives is a lit­tle more amenable to cir­cum­stance.

“You had nine cen­time­tres of snow in your area last April, so April can give you some win­ter-like weather,” he said, but adds that it’s not the snow that peo­ple need to worry about too much, but rather when that warm spell will fi­nally ar­rive.

“So we know the warmth is com­ing, but it’s tak­ing its sweet time. You’re just go­ing to have to be a lit­tle bit more pa­tient. We clearly are not go­ing from slush to sweat, that’s for sure.”

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