Kitchener-Waterloo

This week to be 'substantially colder than normal,' says Environment Canada

It was colder than usual over the weekend, with temperatures just a few degrees above freezing, and it's "all downhill from here," according to one Environment Canada metrologist.
Dogs in coats on a chilly February day on Metcalfe Street in downtown Ottawa. (Ian Black/CBC)

It was colder than usual over the weekend, with temperatures just a few degrees above freezing, and it's "all downhill from here," according to one Environment Canada metrologist.

"It's not going to get a lot warmer," Peter Kimbell told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Colder air from northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories is making its way south toward southern Ontario, he said.

"It's not going to be a very rapid change," he said, "but every day it will be a bit colder."

People can expect temperatures that are "substantially colder than normal" by the end of the week, he said, and we may even seen some snow on Wednesday.

But ask Kimbell to try his hand at a long-term forecast, and he becomes much less confident.

"I'm quite comfortable saying that this week it will be colder than normal. I'm quite comfortable saying that next week will be colder than normal because our weather models are pretty much in agreement that we're seeing a cold air mass parking itself over Ontario."

Beyond that, he said, the science just isn't there. Though weather modelling is getting better all the time, he said it's imperfect.

"We gain about one day predictability every ten years. So our five-day forecast now is as good as a four-day forecast 10 years ago," but there are limits, said Kimbell.

"I'm really reluctant to stick my neck out much beyond [10 days] because we've seen so many instances in which we try that and, of course, we get burned."

Seasonal forecasts, like those issued by the Farmer's Almanac, are just for fun and should be taken with a grain of salt, said Kimball.

So, just for fun:

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