toronto heat record

Toronto's topsy-turvy weather just shattered a longstanding heat record

It's been a hectic few days of weather in the city, the workweek starting with an Arctic blast that had air temperatures feeling like -30 C with wind chill.

Only 48 hours later, it's a downright balmy 10 C as Toronto basks in an unseasonably warm air system, one that just broke a surprising weather record in the city.

The mercury climbed throughout the morning hours, reaching 8.4 C by noon at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, making it the warmest midday high logged since record-keeping began at the airport in 1938.

It's the only documented Feb. 16 where the temperature has reached these heights, beating out the previous record from 1999, when a midday high of 7.9 C was recorded at Canada's busiest airport.

Only records kept beyond Pearson Airport reveal a warmer day in Toronto history, but that was over a century ago.

Despite the record-breaking temperature for this day of the year, it's actually pretty late in the season for the first blast of warm weather, with Jan. 10 the average date for the first +7 C day of the year.

It's never a surprise to see Toronto temperatures much milder than western cities such as Winnipeg and Edmonton, registering -18 C and -12 C at noon Wednesday, respectively. But it's pretty rare to see Toronto experience balmier weather than Vancouver, with that city seeing a midday high of 8 C on Wednesday.

But before you break out the beach towels and sunscreen, be warned that these mild conditions will be very short-lived. We'll start sliding back to normal temperatures late on Thursday, with a high of 7 C and mixed precipitation giving way to an overnight low of -12 C going into Friday.

As Toronto was basking in the morning sun, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Wednesday morning, warning that "A low-pressure system is expected to track northeast across Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Thursday night which will bring a messy mix of wintry precipitation to southern Ontario."

So enjoy the record-breaking heat while it lasts.

Lead photo by

Suhail Akhtar

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