The start of spring will see temperatures that are well below normal for southern Manitoba.

Spring arrives Tuesday at 10:06 pm. On this last day of winter, a strong northwest wind is expected to drop the temperature to -10 degrees Celsius this afternoon and then -19 degrees overnight. By comparison, the normal high for this time of year is +1, while the normal low is -9.

David Phillips is Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada. He says March has been different than the previous few months. According to Phillips, December, January, and February were all quite a bit warmer than normal. But Phillips says March has been close to normal. So far this month, the warmest weather in Steinbach was felt on March 11th when it reached 12 degrees Celsius. The coldest weather was two days earlier at -20 degrees. 

However, if some of this cooler weather is getting you down, Phillips says this is a far cry from the weather we experienced last March. In March of 2023, there were only two days in Steinbach when the temperature climbed above the freezing mark. There have already been 11 of those days this month. 

Phillips says it looks like the first two weeks of spring will be on the cool side. This week alone, daytime highs are expected to range from about -3 to -8 degrees. He notes next week should be a little better, with highs climbing back above freezing. 

Looking ahead to next month, Phillips says April should be warmer than normal.

"Our models seem to suggest kind of an easy beginning and then warming up," he explains. "And then we see the rest of the spring that is certainly in May and first part of June to be warmer than normal."

Taking it one season further, Phillips says their models are also suggesting a warmer-than-normal summer. 

As for precipitation, Phillips admits that trying to forecast moisture three months in advance is very difficult.

"It's hard to get it right tomorrow, let alone in three months," he says. "You can put a person on the moon, but you can't necessarily get precipitation right."

Having said that, Phillips notes their models seem to suggest that this spring will be a little drier than normal. 

Meanwhile, Phillips reminds us that El Nino was certainly a factor in the mild weather we felt this winter. He notes the warm pool of water that exists off the coast of South America was super-charged and super-sized, making it the third strongest El Nino in the last 80 years. But Phillips says another factor was that 2023 was the second warmest on record for Canada and the residual heat from the summer was still there when winter arrived. 


With files from Colleen Houde