December temperatures exceeded normal, in some cases by as much as 5.5 C, which hasn't occured since 2006. Precipitation was normal to above normal in southern Ontario, while northern Ontario was drier than usual. Along with the warm temperatures, a large percentage of December precipitation fell in the form of rain. Snowfall amounts ranged from below normal to normal levels.
In January, most of southern Ontario experienced no snowpack to very little. Most areas in the southwest did not had a good frost seal and many tile drains continue to run freely with every rainfall event. Warmer-than-normal temperatures and average-but-erratic precipitation events resulted in abundant frozen sheet water across fields in the agricultural zone of the province. Northern Ontario has experienced milder-than-normal temperatures as well, with extreme highs and lows. Snowpack conditions throughout northern Ontario remain above normal for this time of year. Marshes, ponds and lakes iced over slightly later than usual.Wetlands throughout Ontario, with the exception of the extreme southwest, are full of water and at their maximum holding capacity. If decent spring rains occur, spring waterfowl pairing habitat should be good. If not, below-average habitat conditions can be anticipated.
Of particular note is the lack of ice formation on the Lower Great Lakes. With the exception of a few days in January, most of these lakes have been completely ice free, including the shoreline zones. As a result, an above-average number of waterfowl remain staging on the near-shore areas of the Lower Great Lakes.
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