03/07/2012 09:18 EST | Updated 05/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Spring-Like Weather Rolls Into Southern Ontario, Quebec


Not since the Mulroney era have March 7 temperatures been as high as they were in Toronto on Wednesday, with the city matching a weather record from 1987.

Under a mix of sun and cloud, the high of 16.7 C recorded at Toronto's Pearson International Airport brought a taste of springtime to Toronto and nearby regions.

Other parts of southern Ontario and Quebec were also treated to the unseasonably warm weather.

Areas around the lower Great Lakes saw highs between 11 and 16 C, and Ottawa and Montreal hit 10 to 12 C.

In Ottawa, the mercury touched 11.7 C, beating an 11.1 C record from 38 years ago. Other cities that enjoyed record temperatures on Wednesday included Peterborough (13.8 C, beating the record of 12.9 C from 1987) and Burlington (with 16.7 C beating the record of 16 C set in 1995).

It was a welcome change from the frosty temperatures in Ontario and Quebec earlier this week.

The dose of relatively balmy weather stems from the combination of winds circulating around a high-pressure system off the East Coast, said CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. The flow from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to usher in double-digit temperatures Wednesday afternoon.

Sunshine was expected for most areas, most of the day, until a cold front brought in clouds overnight. By early morning Thursday, conditions will be soggy in southern Ontario and Quebec, with as much as 15 to 20 mm of rain.

"Temperatures will come down tomorrow and actually down to seasonal for your Friday, but that heat will move off to the Maritimes," Wagstaffe said.

By the weekend, from the Prairies right across to the Maritimes, most of the country will enjoy above seasonal temperatures, she added.

Newfoundland facing blizzard conditions

For Newfoundland, that warmth will be much appreciated.

A blizzard whipped into the Avalon peninsula early Wednesday, shutting down schools and causing dangerous whiteout driving conditions.

Most of eastern Newfoundland was under blizzard warnings Wednesday, while Gander and the surrounding areas were under winter storm warnings.

In the Prairies, however, the snowfall warnings have stopped and temperatures are rising. Milder air is moving in and by the end of the week, residents can expect sunny skies and temperatures 5 to 10 C above seasonal.

In B.C., conditions are ripe for avalanches because of Pacific winds and moisture earlier this week. But the risk is expected to drop to moderate by Thursday, Wagstaffe said.

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