Environment Canada’s top weatherman expects a “good chunk” of Canada will be treated to warmer-than-normal conditions this spring.

Senior climatologist Dave Phillips says the latest models show Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes will be the first regions to snap out of wintery weather, noting the rest of the country will not be far behind.

“We think the flavour, the personality, of spring over a good chunk of the country is going to be warmer than normal,” he told CTV News Channel on Sunday. “The only area that looks like it’s going to be colder than normal is the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Phillips said this year’s winter onslaught was slow to arrive, with temperatures in November besting the warmest on record in western Canada.

But when the cold came, it came hard.

Back in December, Phillips rightly predicted a departure from the previous winter’s warmer El Nino-driven conditions, forecasting a return of “classic” Canadian cold.

“There were moments when Canadians were thinking ‘Wow. Okay. We really are the second coldest country in the world, and the snowiest,’” he said, pointing to the massive dumpings in Vancouver and Victoria that overwhelmed municipal snowplows.

“Vancouver (and) Victoria had probably their coldest winter in 25 years,” he said. “You take the last five winters and add up all that snow, and you still had more snow this year.”

Phillips says while this winter dealt a number of mighty blows – including a brutal storm in the Maritimes with hurricane-force winds and nearly a metre of snow in some regions – large parts of the country got off relatively easy.

“I think it surprised many Canadians that it wasn’t the brutal winter that everybody was thinking about,” he said. “In the Toronto area, southern Ontario, they got off pretty much scot-free.”

While the worst is almost certainly behind us, Phillips says don’t expect to retire your snow shovel on Monday.

“We often see in Canada anywhere between 10 and 30 per cent of our annual snowfall occurs after the first day of spring,” he said.

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