Environment Canada

Environment Canada

March 01, 2007 11:54 ET

Environment Canada: Ontario Weather Review

February 2007 C-c-c-cold enough for you?

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 1, 2007) - The above-normal temperatures that have been reported since November of last year have now been replaced with exceptionally cold temperatures. Across the province, the mean temperatures for the month have now dropped in a range of two to five degrees below normal.

Snowfall was also noteworthy this month. The Great Lakes, with most of the surface as open water in the early part of the month, was responsible for high snow reports in some areas. The typical snowbelt areas, and atypically Hamilton, had high accumulations - in the case of Wiarton, it was record breaking. Locations outside these snowbelt areas had near-normal or below-normal amounts.

Overall, the trend of precipitation was drier than normal across the province. The colder temperatures reduced the amount of available moisture in these cases.

Severe Weather

Lake-effect snows were the big story to start off the month. On February 1 and 2, a very cold flow of air from the southwest caused snow bands to set up off of Georgian Bay. These bands ended up dumping approximately 40 centimetres of snow in the North Bay area during these two days. On February 2, a series of snow bands from the southwest moved onshore near the Cobourg area and caused near-whiteout conditions that may have been an important factor in a fatal crash on Highway 401.

From February 4-7, the winds shifted and blew the cold air in from the northwest. This shifted snowsquall activity to the more traditional snowbelt areas to the lee of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. During this four-day period, Sault Ste Marie received a little more than 70 centimetres of snow and the Barrie area almost 60 centimetres. As well, in less than 12 hours during this timeframe, the Owen Sound area picked up approximately 50 centimetres of fresh snow.

St. Valentine's Day turned out to be more for shovelers than for lovers, especially around the western end of Lake Ontario. A well-developed storm system that moved south of the lower Great Lakes combined with strong lake-effect snow bands generated with a wind from the northeast to give the Hamilton area an official 46 centimetres. This all occurred just between the evening of February 13 and the morning of February 14. However, unofficial estimates of the snow in areas around Hamilton and Burlington were upwards of 60 centimetres, with drifts well over a metre in height. Other parts of Southern Ontario which were not impacted by the off-lake snow received amounts between 10 and 15 centimetres.

The last weekend of the month saw another strong storm system pass to the south of the lower Great Lakes, with the biggest impacts in Ontario being felt in the extreme southwestern part of the province. The Windsor, Sarnia and London areas all saw a number of hours of freezing rain from this event on Sunday, February 25. The Golden Horseshoe experienced the whole event as snow, with general accumulations in the five- to 15-centimetre range. The majority of the snow fell between late Sunday and late Monday. Slightly higher amounts were received in the Oakville, Mississauga and Milton areas as east winds off of Lake Ontario added to the available moisture.



Unusual temperature readings:

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Location Mean temp Normal Difference Coldest since
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Dryden -18.8 -13.3 -5.5 1989
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Chapleau -18.0 -13.2 -4.8 1979
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Kenora -17.6 -12.9 -4.7 1989
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Geraldton -20.2 -15.5 -4.7 2003
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Sioux Lookout -18.5 -14.3 -4.2 1994
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Timmins -18.6 -14.4 -4.2 2003
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Red Lake -19.3 -15.2 -4.1 1994
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Windsor -7.2 -3.2 -4.0 1979
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Elliot Lake -12.3 -8.3 -4.0 2003
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Kapuskasing -19.4 -15.5 -3.9 1979
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Sarnia -8.1 -4.4 -3.7 1979
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Toronto City -6.8 -3.2 -3.6 1979
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Waterloo Wellington -10.0 -6.4 -3.6 1979
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North Bay -14.5 -10.9 -3.6 2003
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London -9.0 -5.5 -3.5 1979
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Hamilton -8.3 -5.2 -3.1 1994
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Muskoka -12.3 -9.2 -3.1 2003
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Wawa -15.2 -12.1 -3.1 2003
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Toronto Pearson -8.4 -5.4 -3.0 1993
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Trenton -9.3 -6.3 -3.0 1993
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Sudbury -14.4 -11.4 -3.0 1994
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Earlton -16.8 -13.8 -3.0 2003
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Peterborough -10.5 -7.7 -2.8 2003
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Thunder Bay -14.8 -12.0 -2.8 2003
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Ottawa -11.3 -8.7 -2.6 2003
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Moosonee -20.8 -18.4 -2.4 2003
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Sault Ste Marie -12.1 -9.7 -2.4 2003
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Pickle Lake -19.7 -17.5 -2.2 2003
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Wiarton -8.9 -6.9 -2.0 2003
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Record snowfall (in centimetres):

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Location Snowfall Normal Difference Previous record
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Wiarton 171.7 74.3 97.4 166.4 (1988)
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Unusual snowfall readings (in centimetres):

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Location Snowfall Normal Difference Highest since
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Sault Ste Marie 116.5 42.8 73.7 2006
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Muskoka 122.0 52.8 69.2 2006
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Hamilton 65.4 35.2 30.2 1994
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Unusual precipitation readings (in millimetres):

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Location Precipitation Normal Difference Driest since
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Ottawa 18.4 58.9 -40.5 1978
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Sudbury 14.8 50.6 -35.8 1993
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Windsor 22.0 57.3 -35.3 1987
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Petawawa 12.6 46.4 -33.8 1978
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Earlton 8.0 39.8 -31.8 1993
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Elliot Lake 21.0 52.5 -31.5 1999
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Peterborough 20.4 50.6 -30.2 1987
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Sarnia 18.3 47.7 -29.4 1987
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Sudbury 39.4 68.6 -29.2 2003
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Trenton 26.5 54.0 -27.5 1991
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London 33.4 60.0 -26.6 1998
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Wawa 22.6 48.5 -25.9 1998
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Location Precipitation Normal Difference Wettest since
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Moosonee 89.6 22.7 66.9 1953
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Wiarton 114.4 68.0 46.4 2006
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Sault Ste Marie 67.4 41.1 26.3 2006
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(Egalement offert en francais)

Contact Information

  • Environment Canada, Ontario Region
    Jack Saunders
    Communications Advisor/Media Relations
    (416) 739-4785
    Website: www.ec.gc.ca