03/19/2012 02:22 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Wacky weather hits Canada on winter's last day

Parts of Western Canada are facing blizzard warnings on the last day of winter, while some eastern cities saw sunny skies and record-breaking temperatures.

Winnipeg reached its highest temperature ever recorded for the month of March, hitting 23.4 C Monday afternoon, according to CBC Manitoba meteorologist John Sauder. The previous record high for March in the Manitoba capital was 23.3 C, set in March 27, 1946.

Ottawans also enjoyed a record-breaking afternoon that reached 24 C, besting the previous high of 16 C set in 2010, according to Environment Canada's weather office.

Winnipeg residents enjoyed the perks of a typical summer's day — picnicking in a park, playing catch and cycling in shorts.

Gimli, to the north of the provincial capital, reached a temperature of 22.9 C and Brandon, to the west, was at 22.3 C, Environment Canada reported on its website.

Earlier Monday, CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said Winnipeg would typically have daily highs of about zero, with the city getting the kind of weather now that it typically sees in late May or early June.

Winnipeg broke a 102-year record on Sunday when the temperature reached 21 C, Wagstaffe reported.

Ontario, Quebec bask in sunshine

Ontario was also getting a blast of warm weather on Monday, with a temperature of 20.9 C recorded in Toronto as of 3 p.m. ET, according to the Environment Canada website, mirroring similar temperatures throughout the southwestern part of the province, including in Windsor (22.5 C), London (21.9 C), Kitchener-Waterloo (22.9 C) and Guelph (22 C).

"Windsor actually feels like 27 C with the humidex," CBC meteorologist Nick Czernkovich said.

In the eastern part of the province, Ottawa and Brockville, also saw summer-like temperatures on Monday afternoon.

In Quebec, Montreal's temperature hit 20 C in the early afternoon, while the mercury hit 21.2 C in Sherbrooke and 22.8 C in Maniwaki.

In New Brunswick, the temperature reached only 10 C in Fredericton by mid-afternoon and 10 C in Saint John. In the border town of St. Stephen, it was slightly warmer, when the temperature hit 14 C.

In Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown saw a high of just 2 C on Monday afternoon.

In Nova Scotia, the temperatures were highest in the southwest of the province, such as Yarmouth where the temperature hit 17 C on Monday afternoon, compared with Halifax (10 C) or communities on Cape Breton Island.

In most parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, temperatures were either just above or below the freezing mark on Monday afternoon.

Blizzards, snowfall forecast for West

Though Manitoba and Ontario were seeing unseasonably warm temperatures on the last day of winter, parts of western Canada woke up to see snowfall and freezing rain.

A moisture plume moving up from the Gulf of Mexico and mixing with a storm system in the north resulted in the snowfall, Czernkovich said.

In British Columbia, Vancouver was expected to see a mix of rain and snow, while Victoria, Nanaimo and other communities on Vancouver Island were supposed to see either rain or snow, with similar temperatures to Vancouver.

The severe weather in Alberta even forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between the Saskatchewan boundary and Brooks, Alta., in the southeast.

As much as 50 centimetres of snow was forecast to fall along the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary.

RCMP said highways in the Maple Creek area of Saskatchewan were clogged with wet snow and warned against travel until further notice, due to zero-visibility driving conditions.

Environment Canada issued blizzard and winter storm warnings Monday for much of southeastern Alberta and parts of western Saskatchewan.

Twenty centimetres or more of snow are expected to be dumped on Saskatoon by Tuesday afternoon, Czernkovich reported.

Heavy snow is also expected to fall in northern parts of Saskatchewan, starting in the Buffalo Narrows region in the afternoon and spreading to the northeast as the day goes on. Northern Manitoba is under a freezing rain warning, while the south of the province is expected to see much warmer weather.