Spring officially began Monday — but Calgarians shouldn't swap their shovels for the patio furniture just yet, says one weather expert.

"I always say that 'your winter is over, now your snow season begins,'" said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips in an interview with CBC Calgary News at 6.

Historically, Calgary receives between 25 to 30 per cent of its annual snowfall after the first day of spring, Phillips explained.

"Now, the last two years, it wasn't that. You had virtually no snow after the first day of spring," he said.

'Don't be too hopeful,' warns Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips0:33

While Calgarians may be hoping to make that three-in-a-row, Phillips says to couch any expectations.

"Don't be too hopeful," he said. "My sense is that you haven't seen the finish of the white stuff yet."

Southern Albertans may need to exercise a bit more "patience," said Phillips, but the city will eventually emerge from one of the harshest winters in recent memory.

This past winter, the city saw 26 days with temperatures below –20 C, compared to just four the winter before, and received nearly twice as much snow, he explained.

Normal to warmer-than-normal

While it's "a little bit too early to get out the muscle shirts and tank tops and put out the lawn furniture," Phillips said temperature models predict this spring in Alberta will be normal, if not a little warmer than usual.  

While it certainly won't be as warm as last year, Phillips said "no area in the province is going to be colder than normal."

Phillips says now it's just a matter of waiting for spring-like weather to arrive in southern Alberta.

With files from CBC Calgary News at 6