TORONTO - One of the country's prominent forecasters says Canadians waiting to feel some spring in their step will have to be patient.
The Weather Network says the average winter conditions experienced across the country will give way to a typical unpredictable spring in the coming weeks.
Director of Meteorology Chris Scott says spring temperatures are expected to hover near seasonal norms in most parts of the country.
He says residents of southern Ontario, Quebec and parts of Atlantic Canada may feel a little more warmth than their counterparts in the west.
Scott says stable ocean temperatures in the Pacific also suggest average levels of precipitation for most of the country.
He says this year's forecast stands in stark contrast to the previous spring, when several of Canada's major cities recorded historic highs.
"You can think of it as a continuation of what we've seen over the course of the winter," Scott said in a telephone interview.
"It's spring, so of course you always get those false starts where you get a few nice days then it goes back, but it's going to be much more of a typical type of spring this year as opposed to what we saw last year."
Last March represented a particularly sharp deviation from the norm, he said, citing figures showing Toronto experienced 12 days during the month when the temperature soared above 15 degrees Celsius.
This past winter marked a return to Canadian form, he said, adding substantial snowfalls and brisk temperatures have defined the season throughout much of the country.
That trend is expected to continue in March, he said, noting the month is notorious for its unpredictability and wild fluctuations are almost to be expected.
Precipitation is one area where Scott called for some stability. Water temperature fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean often dictate the amount of rain or snow that will fall over the country, he said.
Those temperatures are right within the normal range this year, he said, adding some exceptions are forecasted in the western provinces. Residents of central British Columbia can expect a cooler, drier start to the season, while prairie-dwellers may see slightly more precipitation than usual.
Scott said Atlantic Canada can expect a respite from the unusually stormy weather that's swept through the region over the winter. The handful of active systems that do make themselves felt won't deviate too sharply from the seasonal norm, he predicted.
Scott said Canadians struggling to adjust to the return of traditional winter weather may be disappointed by the spring outlook, but offered reassurances that warm weather will return.
"There's a lot of good news in this forecast, we don't want to tell people it's a horrible spring, it's just not going to be anything like last year."
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