There are certain types of people that will tell you that the coldest month in Toronto’s record was caused by man made global warming. Whoops... They changed that to global climate change so that they can explain these anomalies. Aivars Lode
By Sam Colbert
Brag to your family: You just survived Toronto's coldest month in recorded history.
Despite the ridiculous cold, people still flocked to the Beach to do selfies with nature's ice sculptures last month.
Brag to your family. Print it on t-shirts. Whine to your heart’s content.
The numbers are in: February was Toronto’s coldest month in recorded history. And spring is just a few weeks away.
“Canadians laugh at us,” said Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips. “We’re often the brunt of all kinds of jokes here in the city because of our weather.
"Well hey, Canada, we just earned our badge of courage. Nobody alive today has ever experienced a colder month in Toronto than we did this month.”
Technically, it was a tie. February 1875 was exactly as cold at an overall average temperature of -12.6 C. But not even your grandparents can claim to recall that 140-year-old record.
In the past 37 frigid days, the daily high never broke the melting point – peaking at -1.4 C. The lowest of the lows in February dropped to -25.5 C, with a wind chill that neared -40 C. Twenty-three days were labelled extremely cold by Toronto’s Public Health department. That total well exceeded February 2014’s 12 alerts, and the three in February 2013 and two in February 2012.
February normally averages out -4.5 C — more than eight degrees warmer than this year.
Phillips said that, between a population boom, climate change and major infrastructure development, it’s remarkable that Toronto could get as cold as it did in 1875. “Cities are different now,” he said. “They’re urban heat islands.”
This week, Environment Canada is forecasting a high above 0 C for the first time since Jan. 24, with a single degree of warmth expected to last through Tuesday and Wednesday along with chances of snow and rain. In 1976 and 1977, a 51-day stretch of sub-zero chills lasted from Dec. 21 to Feb. 9. That’s a record Toronto won’t likely beat this year.
It didn’t break the coldest day record, either. Jan. 4, 1981 got down to -31.3 C.
The previous coldest month record in the Pearson Airport measurements was the January 1994 average of -12.4 C.
Measurements at the University of Toronto campus began in 1842. Pearson, which is the source of the city’s modern data-of-record, started collecting measurements in 1937.
Beyond Wednesday, daily highs are expected to drop back down to the single digits below freezing. But March is generally about five degrees warmer than February, said Phillips, and the countdown is on to the first day of spring on March 20.
For all Phillips’ interest in the cold, he wasn’t even around the experience it. He just got back from Florida.
“I’m kind of sad I wasn’t here to break that record.”
February 2015: By the Numbers
Record-breaking average overall temperature: -12.6 C
Average daily high: -8.3 C
Average daily low: -16.9 C
Warmest point: -1.4 C (Feb. 4)
Coldest point: -25.5 C (Feb. 15)
Days in a row below freezing: 37 (as of March 1)