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Last-minute storm catapults white Christmas odds across Canada

Thursday, December 24th 2020, 12:30 pm - With Christmas arriving tomorrow, some last-minute forecast changes have bumped up snow chances across Canada.

White or green Christmas? It's the most popular question for this time of year. While some parts of Canada are usually a guarantee for one or the other based on typical seasonal conditions, this year some locations had to wait for a timely winter storm in the final days before Christmas to provide a snowy landscape.

Here's the latest on how we think Canada's 2020 holiday snow chances will pan out.

HolidaySnowSOG


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!


Here's the latest on how we think Canada's 2020 holiday snow chances will pan out.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

A moisture-laden Pacific storm early this week has added to an already substantial base of snow in the mountains of B.C., locking in a white Christmas for the higher elevations.

The system also brought some accumulations to the southern valleys, providing ground-covering snow all the way down to Kelowna. A white versus green holiday for places in the northern Interior depend on your exact elevation, with the slopes guaranteed to keep their snowpack, but the lower elevations remain green for many.

For the South Coast including Metro Vancouver and Victoria, our early week system brought flakes and even some local accumulations, but a mild finish to the week will keep Christmas green for areas near sea level.

PRAIRIES

A swath of timely snow thanks to a potent clipper system dramatically improved chances for a white Christmas in the southern Prairies. Places like Calgary, Regina, and Winnipeg have seen substantial fresh accumulations this week, including some areas where snow cover had previously been scarce.

Alberta will see the return of some westerly flow and the chance for a little bit of thawing later in the week, but snow from our storm system should hold out through the holiday. The rest of the Prairies will see a shot of Arctic air and frigid temperatures, with many areas seeing highs deep in the minus teens through Christmas and beyond.

The northern Prairies already have abundant snow cover, resulting from an active storm track, and the presence of Arctic air this week will keep this region white for Christmas as usual.

HolidaySnowWest

NORTHERN ONTARIO

Much of northern Ontario already has plenty of snow in place, and this week’s system has brought even more. No worries about a green Christmas here.

SOUTHERN ONTARIO

A complex winter storm has considerably raised the chances of a white Christmas in southern Ontario. A surge of mild, moist air will bring heavy rain to the region on Dec. 24, but a cold, Arctic airmass will quickly track in behind the system and set the conditions for accumulating snow.

The Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions will see a white Christmas. Southwestern regions, however, are seeing a medium chance, as snow totals here will be lower, but may be just enough.

The latest details on the changeover from rain to snow in southern Ontario can be found here.

EASTERN ONTARIO AND QUEBEC

Hopes for a white Christmas in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec have faded, as the timing of the Christmas storm will leave most of this region firmly in the mild and wet side of the forecast.

Temperatures on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will rise well above 0°C and some locations will see up to 50 mm of rain. On the western edge of this region, rain may change to freezing rain as an Arctic front lingers nearby.

There will be a tight gradient of snowfall, so the best chances for accumulations will be the western parts of this region and in parts of cottage country.

HolidaySnowEast

ATLANTIC CANADA

Atlantic Canada has seen several rounds of wintry storms so far this season, but surges of milder air have kept persistent snow cover to a minimum.

A surge of warmer temperatures in advance of our weekend system will help lock in a green Christmas for most of this region.

THE TERRITORIES

No concerns across this region, as abundant snow and Arctic air will make a white Christmas a lock for the territories, as usual.

With files from Weather Network meteorologist Michael Carter

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