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Your New Year’s forecast: a stormy, frigid end to a tumultuous year

Wednesday, December 29th 2021, 12:12 pm - A tumultuous year will end on a tranquil note for the heart of the country. A pair of rainy, snowy systems will take aim at British Columbia and Eastern Canada by New Year’s Day.

This was an unforgettable year of weather extremes across Canada. 2021 brought brutal heat waves, devastating wildfires, a tornado outbreak in Ontario, and a full-fledged hurricane in St. John’s. This long year of active weather will end on a settled note for much of Canada this Friday, but the active weather picks back up on both ends of the country by the first day of 2022. More on what to expect this weekend, below.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: SURFACING FROM THE DEEP WINTER PLUNGE

British Columbia has been a winter wonderland over the past week as an uncharacteristic and record-breaking spell of bitterly cold air and prolific snows swept the province. Folks in Vancouver saw their coldest air in half a century, and the region basked in a rare white Christmas.

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Change is on its way in time for the new year. A pattern shift will allow milder Pacific air to roll inland, bumping the South Coast’s temperatures above freezing for the first time in a week.

We’ll see a wet system pushing inland across B.C. on New Year’s Day, bringing a slug of heavy rain for lower elevations and heavy snows for the mountains. Unsettled conditions with closer-to-seasonal temperatures will continue into the first week of the new year.

PRAIRIES: EXTREME COLD PERSISTS AND DIGS EAST

The story of the Prairies’ weather is that there’s not much going on at all. It’s just quite cold, and that’s bad enough on its own. Active weather is hard to come by when conditions are this cold and dry.

A large centre of high pressure parked over the Prairies has kept the region frosty for the latter half of December. Temperatures plunged more than 20 degrees below normal for many areas. Edmonton, Alberta, recorded a low of nearly -42°C on December 28, falling significantly below the seasonal low of about -14°C for the date.

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New Year’s Eve will see temperatures in the -20s across the entire Prairies, with Saskatoon hitting -30°C with a wind chill of -41. The heart of the frigid air will push toward the eastern Prairies to start the new year, with Winnipeg only reaching -28°C on Saturday.

Pacific air pushing into Western Canada will moderate Alberta’s temperatures significantly from where they’ve been for the past two weeks. New Year’s Day will see a high of -8°C in Calgary and -9°C in Edmonton, a veritable (albeit brief) heat wave compared to the bone-chilling air of late. Frigid air will work its way back into the region heading into the first full week of January.

ONTARIO AND EASTERN CANADA: 2021’S FINAL STORM ROLLS INTO 2022

This year looks to end on a mild note across the eastern half of the country. Temperatures from southwestern Ontario straight through to the Atlantic provinces should hover within a few degrees of freezing when the calendar flips to January.

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A Colorado low developing stateside will bring active weather to Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes come New Year’s Day. The system will slide toward the Great Lakes on New Year’s Eve, potentially bringing some light rain to southern Ontario overnight.

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The low will expand and spread over Ontario and Quebec on New Year’s Day, bringing an array of rain, snow, and ice to the region, depending on which side of the low-pressure system you wind up on. The system will track into Quebec and the Maritimes later Saturday into Sunday. Forecasters will closely monitor this system and its potential impacts heading into this weekend.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for all the latest updates across the country.

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