Environment Canada forecasts colder than normal spring

Environment Canada's spring forecast says three quarters of the country will be colder than normal for the next three months.

Are the groundhogs wrong?

Anne Swannick of Ottawa walks her dog Jace through the falling snow and ice pellets in an Ottawa park on Monday. ((Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press))

What do the groundhogs know anyway?

Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam and Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil all predicted an early spring.

But Environment Canada's spring forecast suggests the rascally rodents got it all wrong.

The agency is out with its spring forecast for March, April and May.

Last year, Canada had one of the earliest springs ever, noted senior climatologist David Phillips, but this year, the season will be "reluctant to arrive."

Canada has had a "fickle and fitful" winter with temperature swings that are typical in a La Nina year, he said, and there will likely be more of the same in the spring.

About three quarters of the country will be colder than normal for the next three months, according to Phillips.

The regional breakdown

"March is going to roar in like a lion in parts of the Maritimes where they're talking about heavy snowfall and blizzard kind of conditions," said Phillips.

"On the Prairies it's more like frozen mutton because they're going to see one of the coldest beginnings to March they've ever seen across that region," he said.

Temperatures will be 18 to 20 degrees colder than normal Tuesday and Wednesday on the Prairies, he said.

British Columbia, the Yukon, the Prairies, the Northwest Territories, most of Ontario, and a good chunk of Nunavut will see colder temperatures during spring.

"We've done a lot of plowing and shovelling and pushing in some areas of Canada and it looks like they're going to continue that," said Phillips.

Eastern Nunavut, most of Newfoundland and eastern Nova Scotia will enjoy a warmer than normal spring.

Western Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Labrador, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario will have near normal temperatures, he said.

Southern B.C., most of Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Nunavut will see a wetter than normal spring while precipitation will be near normal in northern Ontario and most of the Prairies.

More daylight

But at least Canadians have something to put themselves in a sunny mood.

Residents in the southern half of the country are gaining about four minutes a day more daylight driving to work or heading to school, he said.

"This is the time of the year where the day length just gallops from one day to the next," said Phillips.

"That really lifts our spirit. Even though nature doesn't want to give us the spring that we think that we deserve, we see it in the daylight and that can be uplifting," he said.