The city has topped a 17-year-old temperature record for this day but a senior climatologist for Environment Canada says residents shouldn’t “put away the snow shovel yet.”

The temperature at Pearson International Airport at 11 a.m. was 13.5 C, beating the previous record for March 1 of 13.2 C, which was set in 2000.

Nonetheless, Environment Canada Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips tells CP24 that winter isn’t necessarily over.

“It really isn’t over till it’s over. In Toronto, 20 per cent of our annual snowfall occurs after the first of March,” he said. “Look at last year. We had the warmest winter on record but we had ice storms in March, April was the snowiest month of the entire winter and we had snow before the long weekend in May. My advice would be don’t put away the snow shovel yet.”

The temperature is expected to reach an unseasonably warm 16 C today, however it will plummet overnight with a high of – 1 C called for on Thursday and a high of – 4 C called for on Friday.

Speaking with CP24, Phillips conceded that winter has come in like a lamb or “grilled lamb chops” rather than a “lion” but he said that there is still the potential for snow and frigid cold.

“Clearly the feel and look of winter has disappeared in Toronto because of this long stretch of 12 days in a row with melting temperatures,” he said. “We had the warmest February on record, we also saw the warmest day ever in February on the 23rd – it rocketed up to something that would have been warm in the early days of May.”

The mild temperatures today will be accompanied by a risk of a thunderstorm early today and periods of rain this afternoon.

The city is also expected to experience very strong winds later today, with gusts of up to 70 or 80 kilometres an hour in many areas.

“Areas of rain and isolated thunderstorms have arrived as expected and will move out of southern Ontario later this morning. After a short break, another round of showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected this afternoon as a sharp cold front approaches from the west,” a special weather statement from Environment Canada reads.

The national weather agency says Torontonians should prepare for a “quick return” to winter driving conditions.

“As the cold front moves through this evening, the showers will turn over to scattered flurries as temperatures plunge to well below the zero degree mark,” the weather advisory continues. “Poorly drained sections of roads may become icy as a result. Motorists should be prepared for a quick return to poor winter driving conditions tonight.”