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Simcoe County met with blast of winter weather on first day of spring


While the first half of March has been anything but seasonal, the first day of spring in Simcoe County was met with the snow and cold that's typically seen this time of year.

A winter weather travel advisory issued by Environment Canada is expected to bring five to 10 centimetres of snow by Wednesday night, a far cry from the double-digit warmth that Barrie and the surrounding region have experienced this month.

"The first day of spring is one thing, but the first spring (weather) day is another," said David Phillips, a Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada. "What we're going to see this week is one, perhaps maybe the coldest, coolest weeks of the last three months."

Phillips said the warm weather shattered records this winter, making it the warmest winter on record in Canada.

Over a three-month period, the Canadian average temperature was 5.2 centimetres warmer than normal. The previous record in 2009-2010 was 4.1 centimetres.

"But you know, we've never had a spring in Barrie that didn't have snow," Phillips added. "We can still get up to 28 centimetres of snow on average in March."

For The City of Barrie snowplow crews, preparations were underway all Tuesday before the snowy conditions arrived.

"We're positioned well to make those transitions from warm temperatures to cold," said Andy Foster, the city's road operations supervisor. "We do have a day shift and a night shift, so for those warmer days, we are getting some asphalt and some potholes filled."

The hot and cold conditions have also had an impact on the regular growing season typically seen in the spring.

"We've seen some stuff come out before they usually do because it was warmer," said Gabrielle Polman at the Bradford Greenhouses in Barrie. "The weather has been great but there will still be a chance of frost coming up."

According to Polman, that risk of frost is why she advises against starting gardening earlier than usual this spring.

That's also echoed by David Phillips, who said the frost can have enormous consequences on more than the at-home gardener.

"We saw that about 12 years ago," he added. "We lost $100 million in the apple industry in Ontario because we had that summer in March."

While the final weeks of March are expected to be cold, Phillips anticipates the warm weather will return by April, with projected forecasts showing temperatures will return to being higher than average into June. Top Stories

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