Spring has officially sprung in Canada, but the effects of the “fickle” season will be slow to appear across the country, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips.

“This spring, patience is the key word,” Phillips told CTV News Channel on Tuesday, with the temperature in Toronto sitting at several degrees below freezing. Spring officially started at 12 :15 ET, but Phillips says the warm-up might still be a month away for much of the country.

“Spring is very fickle,” he said. “It just doesn’t necessarily want to change.”

That’s not to say the weather has motivations of its own, but Phillips says the transition from winter to spring has become more unpredictable in recent decades, and will likely come about slowly this year.

“It’s wonky,” he said. “Winters used to be cold and summers used to be hot, and now it’s almost a crapshoot as to what the seasons are going to be like.”

He pointed out that the weather has been particularly odd in Eastern Canada this year, where a mid-February thaw ushered in temperatures in the range of 15 degrees Celsius, only to plunge back below freezing a few weeks later. Now, the East Coast is bracing for its fourth Nor’Easter in a week.

“There were times this winter when the North Pole was warmer than southern Canada,” Phillips added.

But while the below-normal spring temperatures are likely to result in many grumpy Canadians, Phillips suggests there are a few silver linings.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a flood situation like we had in other years,” he said. Phillips also predicted that lingering moisture in the Prairies might help keep the number of wildfires down this season. “That may also keep the forest fires at bay,” he said.

“There is some good news, it’s just that people want to feel warmer.”