Warm weather in store for Calgary but don't put away the snow shovels and winter tires just yet

Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Phillips sees a slowly improving spring, followed by a warmer than usual summer for southern Alberta.

Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips says city often gets 30% of its snow after first day of Spring

It wasn't your imagination. It really was a terrible winter.

That was confirmed by Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips in an interview with The Homestretch, where he crunched the numbers for Calgary's winter of 2017-18 and tipped his cap.

"It certainly has been tough on many accounts," Phillips said. "It began cold. Look back at last November. That was probably the first clue.

"So far, [you've had] about 68 per cent more snow than you normally would get."

He added that it's been the third snowiest February and March in 120 years — and there are still 10 days left to move up the charts.

Southern Alberta has received 68% more snow this winter than it usually gets, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Phillips. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Cold days 

And when we weren't being buried alive, we were freezing.

"Cold days of at least -20, normally you would see about 20 of those — you've had 30 of those," he said.

"I'm not sure if rage is about to break out there across southern Alberta, but certainly you have seen a tough kind of a winter.

"It was forecast to be that way because of La Nina, but it certainly has been really challenging for most people. I think you earned your stripes with regards to enduring winter, and if there was some fairness in nature, boy it would be warm from now until Christmas of next year."

Snowy season

And despite the recent uptick in temperature, Phillips warned southern Albertans not to put away their snow shovels just yet.

"My gosh, later this week we see some snow coming back," he said.

"You guys know this — your winter may be over, but ... March is the snowiest month [in southern Alberta]. April is the next snowiest month. Typically on average, about 30 per cent of your annual snow occurs after the first day of spring. I'm not going to say that's going to occur this year, but hey, that's what year in and year out tells us."

Then Phillips summarized the season in verse, of sorts.

"Til April's dead, change not a tread," he said. "Don't change the tires. Don't put away the snow shovels quite yet."

Calgary had around 30 'cold days' where the temperature dropped below -20, according to meteorologist Dave Phillips (CBC)

Warmer than usual summer

However, Phillips' meteorological musings contained a kernel of hope for snow-saturated southern Albertans.

"As we get into April and May, we see a warm-up occurring," he said. "And that would usher in what we think summer is going to be. Clearly [it's] a hint that we're going to see a warmer than usual summer."


With files from The Homestretch

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca