Canada Basked in Warmth this Winter

March 11, 2010; 2:27 PM ET
Share |
A skier walks through the slush at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

Even as much of the United States suffered bouts of punishing cold and record-shattering snowfall, nearly all of Canada basked in relative warmth during the winter of 2009-2010.

Warmth was most exceptional across the far north, where vast tracts of land usually host the nation's most bitter, harsh winter cold.

Temperatures 8 F to 12 F above normal spread over wide swathes of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the sprawling vastness of Labrador and northern Quebec. This was also true as far south as Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

Farther south, there were enough cold outbreaks to hold average temperature departure to about 2 F to 4 F above normal over British Columbia, as well as the eastern Prairies, the populous heart of Ontario and the southern part of Atlantic Canada.

The Vancouver Winter Olympics were plagued by above-normal temperatures in February, with several event delays occurring during the stretch of the games. Men's and women's alpine skiing was postponed several times due to slushy course conditions.

In Toronto, Canada's biggest city, temperature departure for the winter was nearly 2 F above normal. Montreal was warmer than usual by more than 6 F.

A significant stretch of Alberta and Saskatchewan did eke out a normal to slightly colder-than-normal winter, mostly on the strength of a few record-smashing arctic outbreaks in December.

One likely cause for the overall warm bent to the winter was the same as the cause for abnormal cold over the central and southern United States; namely, the frequent occurrence of what forecasters call "blocking highs."

One persistent blocking high set up over eastern Canada and Greenland for much of the winter. It shunted the usual eastward flow of cold air across the continent farther south than usual.

At the same time, it steered mild air off northern seas into much of Canada where arctic air would normally be more dominant.


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

  • How Did East Coast Blizzard of 2015 Play Out?

    January 28, 2015; 8:42 PM ET

    As it became obvious on Saturday that a major blizzard was going to hit the Northeast, the track and size of the storm became critical as to which areas would be hit the hardest.

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

New York City (1780)
Reported temperature of minus 16 degrees; heavy guns brought over ice of Upper Bay from Manhattan to Staten Island.

Washington-Oregon (1921)
Great Olympic Blowdown along Oregon and Washington coasts as hurricane winds confined by mountains overwhelmed forests; wind gusts to 150 mph.

Mid Atlantic/ Northeast (1966)
Strong coastal storm (Jan. 29th-30th). Blizzard conditions with gale-force winds; over 50 deaths, 1-2 feet of snow with drifts to over 10 feet. Snowfall amounts and wind speeds: Washington, DC 12.0 inches Baltimore, MD 12.0 inches Roanoke, VA 17.0 inches West Virginia 12-20 inches Chesapeake Bay 10-16 inches Charlotte, NC 4.4 inches Reading, PA 11.7 inches & 54 mph winds Harrisburg, PA 10.2 inches & 42 mph winds Philadelphia, PA 8.3 inches & 38 mph winds Williamsport, PA 13.0 inches & 32 mph winds Pittsburgh, PA 6.0 inches & 35 mph winds Allentown, PA 11.5 inches & 46 mph winds State College, PA 10.0 inches Newport, PA 16.0 inches