TORONTO - Unusually warm weather stuck around in parts of Ontario and Quebec on Monday, threatening to smash temperature records in some regions for the second day in a row.
And Environment Canada says the Prairies will remain cold, but should get some clearer skies after blizzard-like conditions rolled across the region during the weekend before breaking Sunday night.
Ontario got a mix of warm and winter-like on Monday, with residents in the province's south ditching sweaters for lighter attire as temperatures in many municipalities reached the high teens, while Ottawa peaked at 20 Celsius.
Some parts of western Quebec also got a dose of higher-than-usual temperatures, with Montreal hitting 18 C — a likely record.
Those living in Ontario's north were advised to keep their snow shovels close at hand, as a special weather statement warned of up to 15 centimetres of snow on the heels of Sunday flurries.
Environment Canada says 10 municipalities in Ontario unofficially set heat records on Sunday, while a handful of places in the southern region, including Ottawa and Hamilton, appeared on the cusp of breaking records on Monday.
Environment Canada says the record-setting Remembrance Day warmth was triggered by the winter storm in northern Ontario which pulled warm air up from the Gulf of Mexico.
It forecasts that a chill will come in southern Ontario on Tuesday, as temperatures dip down to around freezing.
Light snow and sub-freezing temperatures greeted Prairie residents Monday after weekend snowstorms dumped more than 20 centimetres of snow in Manitoba, leading closure of a 150 kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg until mid-day on Sunday.
The storm system also delivered heavy snowfalls in southern Saskatchewan and much of Alberta, where the flakes were followed by -25 C wind chill.
The weather fluctuations shouldn't come as too much of a shock, said Beverly Archibald, director of True North Weather Consulting Inc., a specialized forecasting firm based in Edmonton.
"Canadians have to realize that there are always extremes in weather. We are very rarely right at normal," said the former Environment Canada meteorologist.
"We've seen that in Eastern Canada because of the frankenstorm (Sandy) and events of the last weekend compounding our idea that the weather has been quite unusual."
But Archibald said it's likely that when climatologists look back and parse the factors behind the recent weather patterns, they'll narrow things down to one main culprit — El Nino, a warming of surface ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific.
By taking the big-picture view the recent shifts will appear relatively normal, she added.
"I think we'll look back and say this was quite a typical El Nino winter."
Archibald said there could be more of the same in store if El Nino sticks around throughout the remainder of fall and winter.
"It's probably going to be a continuation of the snowy pattern for Western Canada and for Eastern Canada these swings in weather — very cold, very warm, very cold, very warm — which would be typical of these variable weather patterns," she said.
"Depending on what side of the camp you're on in climate change, this is playing right into the climate change scenario where we'd see an increase in extreme weather events," she said.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Michael Stilson of Windber, Pa., shovels wet-heavy snow along Graham Ave. in Windber, Somerset County, Monday, April 23, 2012.(AP)
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, PA
Snow blankets the trees and a road in Jackson Township, Pa., Monday, April 23, 2012. A spring nor'easter packing soaking rain and high winds churned up the Northeast Monday morning, unleashing a burst of winter and up to a foot of snow in higher elevations inland, closing some schools and sparking concerns of power outages. (AP Photo)
Two girls sit on sculptures amid the snow at Glenshee on April 4, 2012 in Glenshee, Scotland. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A rainbow appears as water splashes a local walking on the Sebastopol sea-front on March 3, 2012. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians walk during a snow storm in the West Bank city of Hebron as wintry weather swept through the region on March 2, 2012. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Palle-Jooseppi, a male brown bear of Ranua Zoo, begins to wake up after winter hibernation in Ranua on February 23, 2012. (KAISA SIREN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rushing Dasher ridden by Natalie Friberg (c) leads the field in to the second turn during the Grand Prix Prestige race at the White Turf horse racing meeting held on the frozen Lake St Moritz on February 19, 2012 in St Moritz, Switzerland. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Golfers practice at the driving range Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Concord, N.H. The range opened early this year because of a mild winter. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
A man races his six-dog sled during the winter carnival on Jan. 28. (photo THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
Sea smoke hugs the Kitimat, BC, harbour on Jan 19, 2012, surrounding the tug Smit Cecil and obscuring an empty barge anchored off the dock. Warmer fresh water from the Kitimat River is caught between the ocean water in the harbour and the frigid air, creating the sea smoke which is then caught by the wind. Kitimat was experiencing -23 C air temperature on this day, a windchill of -38 as arctic air kept much of Canada in the first deep freeze of the winter. (The Canadian Press Images/Robin Rowland)
Patrick O'Hara enjoys a walk through Springbank Park in London's west end with his daughter Quinn and grandson Aidan. (photo: The Canadian Press Images/Mark Spowart)
David Ferguson attempts to stay warm on his walk home from work -27C weather (with the wind chill it felt like -40C) in Saskatoon, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)
Lucy Venegas, a soccer referee from Mexico in the city for the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying tournament, catches snowflakes in her mouth in downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday January 18, 2012. Cold weather has enveloped the lower mainland with Vancouverites dealing with temperatures 10 degrees below normal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
A cyclist is framed by icicles hanging from Christmas lights on a tree in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday January 18, 2012. Cold weather has enveloped the lower mainland with Vancouverites dealing with temperatures 10 degrees below normal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
A horse-drawn carriage makes its way down a street in Old Montreal during snowfall Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.
Pedestrians brave the blustery winter weather as a storm system hits Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.
Joe Graham works to clear snow from the front of his family's business in Dubuque, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. AP PHOTO.
A motorist clears snow from their vehicle in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011. A blast of wintry weather descended on the Maritimes causing numerous accidents, closing schools and delaying flights.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Karen Kelly shovels a walkway as snow removal crews clean up on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 23, 2011, after the first snowfall of the season brought upwards of 10 cm of snow to the nation's capital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
A woman cleans snow from her car in Montreal, Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as the first heavy snowfall of winter hits Montreal and surrounding areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson makes his way along Wellington Street during a snowfall in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. The first snowfall of the season brought upwards of 10 cm of snow to the Nations capital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Beijingers walk through the first snowfall of the year at a section of the rebuilt city wall in Beijing on December 2, 2011. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Shoppers walk past large piles of snow in Samara's Leningradskaya Street on November 10, 2011 in Samara, Russia. Samara is one of thirteen proposed host cities as Russia prepares to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
A horse stands in the intense wind and snow Monday, Dec., 5, 2011 near his corral off of Highway 70 in Las Cruces, N.M. Snowfall started to blanket the City of the Crosses at about 11 a.m. and steadily continued throughout the day. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Shari V. Hill)
Traffic backs up behind snow plows clearing a street in Denver on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. As much as seven inches of snow is in the forecast for the Mile High City on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Ruth Chauff, of New Orleans, laughs after making a small snowman near Point Park on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011., after snow fell across the Chattanooga, Tenn., area. She made a snowman with her daughter April Fontenot, not seen. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jake Daniels)
Snow covers Narikala, an ancient fortress dominating Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)
Leaves and snow rest on the ground after a winter storm October 30, 2011 in Hartsville, Pennsylvania. Thousands in Pennsylvania and Delaware were left without power from the early winter storm that left up to 10 inches of snow in parts of the states. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TENN.
An early snow covers tackling dummies at Signal Mountain High School football practice field, in Signal Mountain, Tenn., early Tuesday morning, Nov. 29, 2011. The snowfall is considered early for the region. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dan Henry)
Paul Worsowicz watches his putt during the traditional 29th annual Thanksgiving Day golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011 in Concord, N.H. More than 100 players showed up at sunrise to play nine holes in the snow covered course.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
EAST MONTPELIER, VT.
A flock of wild turkeys walk through a snow-covered field Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 in East Montpelier, Vt. Snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain is knocking out power to thousands of Vermonters and making the morning commute a slippery one.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)