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Last blast of winter puts Eastern Canada under snow, rain and wind warnings

Pedestrians negotiate through the intersection of Spadina and King Street in Toronto on April 26, 2011 as rain continued to fall.

Peter Power/Peter Power/ The Globe and Mail

Canadians east of Manitoba may be lamenting today's blast of winter as a rude awakening, but Environment Canada says it's nothing more than a dose of reality.

Senior climatologist David Phillips says the cold, snowy conditions in parts of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada are perfectly normal for this time of year.

The winter weather systems have prompted severe weather warnings in parts of central and eastern Canada, even forcing school closures in the Ottawa area.

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Mr. Phillips says only seem out of place because they've arrived on the heels of an unparalleled run of warm weather.

Mr. Phillips says the more unusual story is unfolding on the West Coast, where sunny skies and temperatures above 25 C are setting new record highs in some areas.

He says such wild variations are typical of April, which has a reputation for being unpredictable.

Mr. Phillips says Canadians won't have to wait long for warm weather to return: Environment Canada predicts milder-than-average temperatures to continue next month.

An intense low pressure system from New Jersey was expected to cause strong winds in Quebec, with snow forecast for Labrador tonight.

In Ontario, strong winds, rain and snow were expected from Toronto to London, with rain changing to wet snow in many of those areas, and little chance of accumulation.

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