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‘Dreary, wet and mild’: Warmer Toronto winter could stick around for the new year, say climate experts

Above-average temperatures have made for a mild late December for Toronto — and those trends could continue into the new year, despite the mercury set to drop slightly by the weekend, weather experts told CBC Toronto.

This month, the average temperatures have hovered at around highs of 6-8 C, which is warmer than the average high of about  -1 C for this time of year, said Vikta Paulo,  CBC Ottawa’s meteorologist.

Though predicting the weather is challenging, models are indicating this will continue to be a warmer winter for Toronto, he said in an emailed statement.

“There’s no sign of extreme cold days or heavy snowstorms,” said Paulo. “January 2024 is anticipated to begin with temperatures around -1 C highs and -7 C lows, marking a relatively mild start to the new year,” he said.

Warm weather, but not record-breaking

This year’s warmth is a stark contrast to December in the GTA last year, which saw one of the coldest winters in years, said Paulo. A holiday storm saw power outages and travel plans upended in 2022. 

But the lack of frigid air isn’t all that unusual. Both December 2019 and 2020 saw milder temperatures similar to this year, said Paulo.

“However, our current temperatures, while not reaching that extreme, are expected to drop as we approach the weekend, returning to more seasonal conditions,” he said. 

Environment Canada predicts this weekend will see highs of about 2 C on Saturday and -1 C on Sunday, with lows of -3 C and -7 C respectively.

Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CBC Toronto that it was predicted the region would have a mild winter. But he echoes Paulo in stating that the warmth isn’t singular.

The warmest Christmas Eve on record was 15.4 C in 2015, he said. “If we look at the last few days, it’s been mild, but it hasn’t been dramatically warm,” he said.

Day-to-day fluctuations are hard to predict and colder days could be ahead, he said. 

“We’re still stuck with the dreary wet and mild weather … but we do see a change coming up this weekend. Temperatures will be colder,” he said. 

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