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K-W breaks 99-year-old temperature record

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The temperature in Kitchener-Waterloo smashed records Friday.

Previously, the hottest Feb. 9 ever on record was in 1925, according to Environment Canada. On that day, 99 years ago, the mercury reached 11.1 C.

By 11:15 a.m. on Friday, it was 12 C in Kitchener.

Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, says this kind of heat is unusual but not unheard of for February.

“We don’t expect to be going outside in a T-shirt and sweater in early February when it should be - 3 C,” Kimbell says, referencing the average temperature for this time of year. “But is it something that’s never happened before? No, not at all.”

The all-time record high for any day in February is 16 C, set on Feb. 23, 2017.  

The current balmy conditions can be attributed to a low pressure system over northwestern Ontario.

“That’s sucking a lot of warm air eastward across southern Ontario, so much of southern Ontario is in that warm air mass,” Kimbell explains.

A long-term trend toward warmer winter temperatures due to climate change plays a part as well.

Saturday could also break the daily record of 10.6 C, set in 1965.

On Sunday, more seasonal temperatures are expected to return as winds shift to the northwest, bringing cooler air back to the area.

By the end of next week, we could see below-seasonal temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Kimbell says.

“Winter’s not over yet,” he adds.

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