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GTA temperature records melt in unusual February heat

Last Updated Feb 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm EDT

Double-digits on the plus side in February? Yes, it is true.

The recent wave of mild weather continued in Toronto and the GTA on Thursday, and it didn’t take long to shatter a record that has stood for more than 30 years. As of 11 a.m., the temperature reached the expected high of 15 C, which broke the record of 14.9 C set at Pearson International Airport in 1984.

“We didn’t have to wait until two or three o’clock, we broke [the record] at 11 o’clock,” Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips told 680 NEWS.

A year ago at this time, the high was only 2 C.

But Toronto wasn’t done smashing weather records. The mercury climbed to as high as 17.7 C, making it the warmest February day on record – beating the record of 16 C set on Feb. 3, 2016.

Phillips said this has been the warmest week ever in Toronto in February.

“So this has been not just a one- or two-day wonder, but an entire week of really balmy temperatures,” Phillips said.

And while this is perfect patio weather, it may leave Mother Nature a bit confused.

Garden specialist Mark Cullen said some plants like tulips might think it’s time to say hello to spring. However, he said there are things you can do if the buds start to sprout and it gets cold again.

“What you should do then is get a bale of straw or some insulator that just put it gently on the top of those plants,” Cullen said.

Although the day started off cloudy, some sunshine peeked its way through in the afternoon. Not to put a damper on your good mood, but there is a chance of showers or isolated thunderstorms accompanied by a gusty wind Thursday evening.

Rain continues on Friday as the temperature cools down to a high of 5 C. The above-seasonable weather makes a comeback on Saturday with a high of 10 C, although it will be windy and rainy.

Although this weather has everyone shedding off the winter blues, Phillips said cooler temperatures are expected next week. He also said Toronto gets around 20 per cent of its annual snowfall in March.

And remember when it snowed last May? With that it in mind, you don’t want to put the shovels away just yet.

The warmer weather comes on the heels on what felt like a balmy long weekend in Ontario, with Toronto breaking other weather records.

On Saturday, Toronto set a record high for Feb. 18, with the mercury hitting 11.9 C at Pearson. The previous record for that day was set in 2011 at 10.8 C.

Earlier this month, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam both predicted an early spring. Could they be right? Only time will tell.