The weather in Ottawa falls into four distinct seasons. This gives residents and visitors a chance to enjoy everything from snowy winter nights to warm summer days in the sunshine through the 12-month period. For travelers, this means the timing of any trip determines the weather that can be expected and the activities and attractions that are available.
Winter in Ottawa means snow. The humid continental climate means the region has sufficient moisture that, when combined with cold air, yields about 230 centimeters or 90 inches of snow. The temperatures typically remain below freezing with average overnight lows during the coldest months about 15 degrees below Celsius of 5 degrees above Fahrenheit. Winter sports include skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Travelers during the winter season may encounter weather delays due to the snowy conditions. Don’t schedule a winter excursion to full of activities to allow for some delays.
Spring is the transition from winter to summer weather and very unpredictable. Days can be quite warm as early as March while winter snow can still fall as late as May. It all depends on the year. Travelers to Ottawa in the spring will have to keep an open mind and itinerary. Some springs may provide great skiing and sledding with good snow conditions and temperatures near the freezing mark. On the opposite extreme, the weather may be warm and dry enough for a round of golf.
Summer in Ottawa
As with most continental climates, the summer season is the most agreeable for most activities. The humid conditions of the region do continue with about 900 millimeters or 40 inches of rain each year. Temperatures can reach 35 degrees Celsius or about 95 degrees on the hottest summer days. The area sees sunshine about half of the daylight hours during the year with the bulk of the sunny weather occurring during the summer. Summer activities include golf, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Autumn is another transition season. Early autumn weather can be much like summer weather with sunny skies and warm temperatures. As the season progresses the weather becomes more winter like with the occasional snow event occurring as early as October. Outdoor activities become more limited as the season progresses with most golf courses shutting down in September or October, depending on the weather. Travelers to Ottawa in the autumn should be prepared for almost any type of weather experience.
The Ottawa weather follows the patterns of any continental climate. The four seasons bring two distinct weather patterns of winter and summer with transitional seasons of spring and autumn providing a mixture of almost any kind of weather imaginable through a 12-month period.