Environment Canada released a special weather statement today advising Toronto residents of possible freezing rain and continued snowfall expected to accumulate to five to 10 cm. But despite the blanket of snow that’s slowly covering our city, the start of 2020 has been one of the warmest winters in a while.
In fact, January 2020 was one of the warmest winter months in Toronto history —with minimal snowfall and above average precipitation.
“January was a very interesting month,” says Ben Zlotnick, a representative of Eden App, a company that specializes in contract work and snow removal.
“There was only one day of heavy snowfall in January, and that day we did about 1,000 jobs,” Zlotnick said. “But overall it was a very slow month.”
Over the past two decades, Toronto has seen significant changes in temperature and snowfall rates during the winter. According to Toronto Weather Stats, last month was one of the warmest winter month on records, even if it didn’t feel that way.
In comparison, just last year on Jan. 27, 2019 the GTA was hit with 40 centimetres of snow during one of the worst snow storms in a decade. Where as this January, Toronto only saw a total of 135 cm of snow over the whole month, according to Toronto Weather Stats. January 2008 apparently saw the highest amount of snowfall within the past 10 years with 216.5 cm.
Current climate trends in Canada are also indicating our winters will get warmer, thanks to global warming.
“Over the next 20 years, we can expect to see increasing impacts of climate change, from more frequent and severe hot extremes, to thawing of permafrost, to increases in extreme precipitation,” says a Council of Canadian Academic (CCA) report on Canadian climate risks.
However, with warm winter temperatures and lack of snowfall this season becoming the new norm, when a true winter snow storm hits ( or even half of one like today) it can cause a bigger impact on the city and some of its residents.
For one East York resident, today’s snow came as a surprise and caused her to completely change her routine. Collette Mckenzie took TTC for the first time in about 30 years today because she didn’t feel like shovelling the snow off of her car.
“It’s winter — it’s not all that bad,” she said, acknowledging this wasn’t the snowy day the city had expected but it was enough to deter her from driving.