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Ontario’s wild weather day: From warmth to thunder to snow

Traffic makes its ways along Highway 400 near Simcoe Road 88 in November. Parts of Ontario will be waking up to two to four centimetres of snow on April 15, 2014.

DEBORAH BAIC/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

After feeling the warmest temperatures in six months over the weekend, Ontario can get ready to experience the four seasons in one day by Tuesday.

David Phillips, senior climatologist and Environment Canada, says toward the end of the day Monday, a chance of thunderstorms will turn into a chance of freezing rain and flurries as the temperature drops 28 degrees before Tuesday morning thanks to a cold front that's currently entrenched over the American Midwest and the Prairies.

Parts of the province will also be waking up to two to four centimetres of snow.

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Shifts like these aren't unusual, says Peter Kimball, warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada, who notes average snowfall for April in Ontario is 4.5 centimetres. "It is April. These kinds of things do happen," he says.

Still, after putting the long, Polar Vortex winter behind them, Ontarians "had mentally put winter in the closet along with their parkas and their toques and their balaclavas," Mr. Phillips said. "This is a bit of a rude awakening."

Mr. Phillips says Tuesday's forecasted high of -1 in Toronto is the coldest April 15 the city's ever seen.

Mr. Kimball said the dramatic shift in the forecast will be felt mostly in Southern Ontario, and particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. Northeastern Ontario is also going to feel a shift from a rainfall warning to flurries by the end of the day Monday.

The high amount of precipitation over the winter and last week's sudden warmth brought flooding and high water levels to much of the province this weekend. Mr. Phillips says if the temperatures stayed where they were, the flood situation could have been a lot worse.

"This will, in some ways, stem the flow," he says. "Even though psychologically we're hating it, I know it seems odd, but this is in some ways good news."

Mr. Kimball says the temperatures should remain cold into Wednesday, but crawl back to a more spring-like (but still below-normal) high of seven degrees on Thursday.

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