A colder-than-normal March ahead as snowstorm wanes in Hamilton

March is the only month of the winter that has been colder than normal, after a record-breaking warm February.

Here's a look at how the storm happened and what is still in store

Snowblowers and snowplows were clearing streets and sidewalks in Hamilton on Tuesday morning after the city received a dump of snow on Monday and Tuesday. (Chris Seto/CBC)

A blast of winter blanketed Hamilton Monday and Tuesday, breaking a snowfall record and startling the region out of a stretch of spring-like warmth.

The winter storm warning has ended for Hamilton but it continues for Dunnville, Caledonia, Haldimand and into Niagara. But snow will continue to fall through the day and overnight adding to the accumulation. And blowing and drifting snow is expected to still cause commute and shoveling problems across the region.

The storm picked up steam Monday with an easterly wind blowing "lake-enhanced" snow onto Mississauga. That switched to a northeasterly wind dumping snow on Burlington and Hamilton. And as of Tuesday morning a northerly wind was continuing to bring lake-enhanced snow into Niagara, said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland.

"Now that that wind is straight out of the north, 5 to over 10 cm (more) is possible depending on where we see the enhancement," he said.

'You've never had a spring without snow'

About 13 cm fell Monday at the Hamilton airport, breaking a record of 9.6 cm on March 13 in 1984.

It's not as if when spring starts at 6:28 a.m. on Monday, you can put away the parka and the balaclava.- David Phillips, senior climatologist, Environment Canada

But that 13 cm does not tell nearly the whole story of this storm, said David Phillips, Environment Canada senior climatologist.

That was just the snow that fell before midnight, and the snow hasn't stopped falling, and isn't expected to stop falling until Wednesday morning. 

Scotland said he saw unofficial totals of about 20 to more than 30 cm that had fallen across Hamilton and Niagara by Tuesday morning. 

A photographer captured a snowy scene Tuesday near the MacNab Transit Terminal. (WheresMonti/Instagram)
Also, don't expect to be able to wear a t-shirt just because it'll officially be spring on Monday, Phillips said.

"About 16 per cent of [Hamilton's] annual snowfall occurs in the spring — you've never had a spring without snow," he said. "It's not as if when spring starts at 6:28 a.m. on Monday, you can put away the parka and the balaclava."

'This is not the last hurrah'

He issued some warnings about the rest of March and April, too.

"We're calling for March to be a normal to colder-than-normal March," he said. "This is not the last hurrah."

This is the only month of the winter that has been colder than normal, after a record-breaking warm February.

The normal temperature for March 15 should be 4 C, but Wednesday is forecasted to be a high of -7 C, he said.

"It should be maple syrup weather right now and yet the coolness continues," he said.

'Til April's dead, don't change a thread'

And last April was the snowiest month of the year, he said, with 32 cm of snow compared to a typical 8 cm.

"'Til April's dead, don't change a thread," he said.

On average, Hamilton gets 131 cm of snow.

Before Monday, only 67 cm had fallen so far this winter:

  • 1 cm in November
  • 44 cm in December
  • 10 cm in January
  • 10 cm in February