March 7, 2014 6:03 pm

End to the bitter cold in sight?

A sunny winter day in Calgary.

Reid Fiest/Global News

TORONTO – With highs near 12 C for Calgary on Sunday, we may be seeing an end to the cold that has crushed most of the country this winter.

Both Edmonton and Calgary will see above-normal temperatures beginning this weekend and lasting into next week.

Spring is just two weeks away and it looks like Mother Nature has finally taken pity on the Great White North. Well…on part of the country, at least.

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READ MORE: Spring forecast: Colder than normal, but spring is on its way

Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada said that the the upcoming forecast for western Canada looks to be above normal. But in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, it’s not looking as promising.

“What we’re seeing from March 15 to the 22 is seasonal temperatures in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and above normal in Alberta,” Coulson told Global News.

“In the same period of the 15 to the 22, [the forecast models] are still indicating colder than normal temperatures in Ontario.”

The reason, in part, lies with the Great Lakes coming close the record-ice cover of 1979. As of March 6, the 92.2 per cent of the lakes were covered in ice.

Though the Great Lakes ice coverage is higher than it’s been in recent years, it’s still nowhere near two of the all-time highs in 1979 and 1994.

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

That coverage means that the lakes, which usually help to moderate temperatures to the east, help keep the cold air cold. Add that to the increased snow pack, and sources of heat — such as sunlight being absorbed into the ground — are lost.

But even though the east will see below-normal temperatures, that doesn’t mean it will be as bitingly cold as it has been this winter.

Normal highs are between about 1 C and 5 C from Windsor, Ont. to Halifax, N.S. Temperatures may be just a few degrees colder than that.

And there’s no denying that it will get warmer — eventually. The days are getting longer, the sunlight is getting stronger, and Mother Nature will begin to do her thing. She just may be a bit later for the east.

So take heart: warmth is just around the corner.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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