It was an unseasonably warm December in Toronto and it looks like the trend will continue over the next few months, according to a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

Dave Phillips made the comment to CP24 on Thursday afternoon as the temperature inched up to an expected daytime high of 7 C, which would be well in excess of the seasonal average of – 1.4 C.

In fact it is the second day this week in which temperatures have significantly outpaced seasonal norms.

On Monday the temperature reached 10.2 C, beating a 54-year-old record for Dec. 30.

“We have already seen the weather trailer sort of speak and it is milder than normal,” Phillips said, noting that his confidence in that forecast is high. “Our models are showing more of the same for January, February and March.”

Phillips said that there has only been 10 centimetres of snow over the last month, which is well below the December average of 30 centimetres.

He said that the number of “freeze days,” in which the temperature never rises above zero, was also much lower than usual in December – five instead of the usual average of 15.

“I think we need to send search parties out there looking for winter,” he said. “We have had a tease but really consistently in the last four weeks it has been almost missing in action.”

Phillips said that part of the reason for the milder than normal December has been the presence of the jet stream to the north of Ontario, which he said has helped keep “artic air” away.

Looking ahead, he said that there certainly will be frigid days early in 2020 but hopefully fewer of them than in winters past.

He said that it is likely that the brutal winter days that the city does get will serve as “little teasers” of winter that are followed by more mild conditions.

“We have not cheated winter, you never do that, but certainly it has been slow to arrive in its gusto,” he said. “Even next week when it turns and we will have more seasonable temperatures, you know about – 3 C for highs, than we will bounce back to milder than normal temperatures.”