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Strong ridge brings rare December warmth to Alberta, soak it up now

Thursday, December 3rd 2020, 8:00 pm - Alberta sits comfortably in some rare early December warmth, so be sure to trade those parkas for a sweater while you are able.

'Don't get too used to this.'

Wise words from Weather Network meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal, who says this surge of December warmth in Alberta is far from the norm.

The unusually warm weather hovering over western Canada certainly won't be an indication of how winter shapes up this year either, but it's still a pleasant pattern to soak up while it's here, especially considering how long it will last.

Visit our Complete Guide to Winter 2021 for an in depth look at the Winter Forecast, Canada's ski season, and tips to plan for everything ahead!

The extended stretch of unseasonably mild conditions will only continue to get better as the weekend nears in Alberta, with wall-to-wall sunshine helping to melt any residual snow, and daytime highs sitting about 10 to 15 degrees above normal for most.

West PAttern

That's as a ridge of high pressure builds over western Canada, keeping skies clear, low pressure systems out and daytime highs far from their frigid norms.

One of the most impressive elements to this warm-up is just how long it lasts, with no outbreaks of arctic air expected through the early parts of next week. That even includes northern sections of the province, and even far up into the Yukon and Northwest Territories as well, that will crack out of the freeze and hover well above seasonal.

7 day calgary


The national pattern as a whole is a little wonky right now and will completely defy the Winter Forecast, as the jet stream pattern brings the total opposite of what's expected for late December and right through to February.

"Above seasonal temperatures, with even some record warmth, will dominate the first half of December across the western half of Canada, while the eastern half of the country will be closer to normal for early parts of winter," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.

This balmy forecast in Alberta however, will show signs of cooling by the end of the next week, with a much more typical and wintry pattern setting up for the third week of December.

"A bitterly cold winter is expected across Alberta, with above normal snowfall across the southern half of the province," Gillham says, adding to watch out for extended periods of severe cold and dangerous wind chills.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Kyle Brittain

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