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This could be Ottawa's first winter without a -20 C day


With record-breaking warm temperatures in the forecast this week and Environment Canada's long-range forecast calling for above-normal temperatures over the next four weeks, this could be the first winter the temperature does not fall below -20 C in Ottawa.

The coldest temperature in Ottawa this winter was -18.7 C.

Environment Canada's forecast calls for highs of 13 C on Tuesday and 14 C Wednesday. The record for warmest Feb. 27 in Ottawa history is 12.4 C, set back in 2000, while the record for warmest Feb. 28 is 9.9 C, set in 2018.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says this is one of the warmest winters in Ottawa history, with less snow.

"You're losing your reputation as one of the snowiest and one of the coldest national capitals in the world," Phillips told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa at Work with guest host Graham Richardson.

According to the social media account @YOW_Weather, Tuesday and Wednesday could be the warmest February days on record in Ottawa.  The current record for the warmest February day in Ottawa is 12.4 C, set in 2000.

"We see temperatures 13 C/14 C, these would be records. We go back to 1870, and this would be a new record tomorrow and the one on Wednesday is just a shocker."

Ottawa will see a high of 3 C on Monday before the potential record-breaking warm temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday. The long-range forecast calls for a low of -8 C on Wednesday night, while Thursday will see a high of -5 C and a low of -12 C. Above-normal temperatures are expected to continue into the first weekend of March, with a high of 2 C on Friday and 9 C on Saturday.

No winter without -20 C temperatures

With winter winding down, this could be the first winter in Ottawa without the temperature hitting -20 C.

Environment Canada said on social media over the weekend that the Ottawa Airport has never gone an entire winter season without the temperature falling below -20 C.

"You've had no days below -20 C this year; to me, that's been a shocker. When you normally get 16 to 17 of those suckers, you've had none and not even close," Phillips said on Monday.

The coldest temperatures this winter were -18.7 C on Jan. 21, -17.8 C on January 19 and -17.1 C on both Jan. 17 and Jan. 20. The coldest temperature recorded in Ottawa in February was -16.9 C, which was on Saturday morning.

According to Environment Canada, the average temperature in Ottawa in February is a high of -0.1 C and a low of -8.4 C.

It has been one year since the temperature hit -20 C in Ottawa, with a low of -24.4 C on Feb. 25 and -20.8 C on Feb. 24.

There were 7 days with temperatures below -20 C during the 2022-2023 winter, with a low of -28.8 C on Feb. 3 and -33.1 C on Feb. 4.

Ottawa has only received 14.6 cm of snow in February. There was 54.6 cm of snow in January, 27.5 cm of snow in December and 8.8 cm of snow in November.

Phillips says Ottawa typically sees 50 cm of snow after the end of February.

"I wouldn't write the final chapter on winter yet, I think we could have bouts of winter. But typically, when it returns at this time of year, it is short-lived and it's not as intense," Phillips said.

"I wouldn't say it's over, but we'll probably get a couple of moments."

Ottawa's winter by the numbers looks at the highs and lows of Ottawa's winter.

  • Coldest day: -18.7 C on Jan. 21
  • Warmest day: 9.9 C on Feb. 9
  • Greatest single-day snowfall: 14.8 cm on Jan. 13
  • Total snowfall: 105.5 cm (November to February)
  • Rideau Canal Skateway season:  Jan. 21 to Feb. 25
  • Green Flag days on Rideau Canal Skateway: 10 days

Mild weather expected

The mild temperatures in the forecast this week could be a preview to a mild month ahead.

Environment Canada's monthly temperature forecast calls for Ottawa and eastern Ontario to see above-seasonal temperatures over the next four weeks. The monthly temperature forecasts looks at the 28-day period between Feb. 26 and March 25.

"I would have thought that, my Gosh, if nature was going to try and make up and average it out, we'd have a pretty cold March, April and May but it doesn't seem the case. It's almost like what you see is what you're going get," Phillips said.

Environment Canada's monthly temperature outlook calls for above-seasonal temperatures in Ottawa over the next four weeks. (Source: Environment Canada) Top Stories

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