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Atypical winter sees weather records tested as Waterloo region residents welcome spring

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Monday marks the first day of spring, and if you’ve found yourself wondering why this winter seemed a bit different weather-wise from past years, there are a few reasons.

Waterloo region saw some weather records tested and one record broken that had remained intact for nearly 80 years.

Once person told CTV News they could hardly wait for summer, saying “this winter has been weird.”

The unusual winter saw a brief winter storm around Christmas and then a spat of warmer days, leaving very little snow on the ground until recently.

In March, Waterloo region saw several snowstorms bring heaps of snow.

“Normal snowfall for a whole winter for the area is about 135 cm. With the March snowfall, we've had 122 cm,” Geoff Coulso, Environment Canada meteorologist said.

The University of Waterloo Weather Station says this January was the fourth warmest ever recorded, with records going back over 100 years.

‘WE NEED SOME SUNSHINE’

Another anomaly seen this winter was persistent cloud cover.

According to the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting (ECMRF), parts of Ontario experienced the darkest winter in over 80 years.

According to ECMRF, parts of Ontario saw lower levels of solar energy between December 2022 and February 2023 than previously recorded in the last 83 years.

“I am tired of winter,” a resident told CTV News. “It’s been up and down too many times. We need some sunshine.”

The University of Waterloo Weather Station recorded 23 "dreary days" in January – meaning there was less than 400 watts of solar radiation per square metre. This was the highest number for the month in the station's 25 years of existence. The second highest was January 2011, when 18 dreary days were recorded.

MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT

Whether you noticed it or not, the dark winter may have impacted your mental health.

“It’s the extremes that creates the most amount of discomfort and distress for people,” Helen Fishburn, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW), said.

The CMHA said extreme weather events like snowstorms, prolonged darkness and extreme heat are associated with increased calls to their 24-hour crisis line and the emergency room.

“There are elements of Mother Nature that we just don’t have the ability to control,” Fishburn said. “We have to keep our energy and our focus in ways that promote our wellness rather than giving our energy away to things that we can’t control.”

SPRING FORECAST

There is good news on the horizon as the forecast shows beginning in mid-April temperatures are excepted to rise and stay above the seasonal average.

Environment Canada said mid-April will see highs of around 11 degrees.

Waterloo region residents who CTV Kitchener talked to on Monday said it was nice be to out and about, enjoying the sunshine.

“We have been stuck at home due to the colder weather, now it feels wonderful to be outside,” one person said.

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