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Most Decembers, Toronto gets off relatively lightly compared to other Canadians cities, but even so, the city DOES usually get some snow.

Guess how much snow Toronto got this time last year


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 3:14 PM - Most Decembers, Toronto gets off relatively lightly compared to other Canadians cities, but even so, the city does usually get some snow.

In fact, the city gets an average of 8 cm of snow in November, and 32 in December, based on a 30-year rolling average.

It's still early days, but by December 8 of 2014, Toronto had received 17.3 cm, which isn't a bad total for a city, and province, where people were talking about a snow drought as late as January 2015.

This year? 0.8 cm, barely enough to qualify as a trace.

And even without much snow, last winter had no shortage of cold temperatures, with the city of Toronto issuing several extreme cold alerts over the course of the season, as early as January.

This season, not only is there little snow so far in December, temperatures are expected to be relatively mild, a typical effect of El Niño. This year, the phenomenon is one of the strongest on record, all but guaranteeing a snow-free Christmas for Toronto. 

The Weather Network's Winter Forecast is looking quite rosy as well, in large part also due to El Niño. According to meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham, the first half of the season is expected to be relatively mild, while the second will be a return to more "classic" winter-like patterns.

Sad news for anyone hoping for a white Christmas (though there's still a chance, with more seasonal temperatures expected mid-to-late December), but no doubt city officials will be breathing easier. Snow costs money to remove, in terms of salt and snow removal. The city of Halifax, for example, blew its own snow removal budget by early March, with plenty of weeks still to come in the last, brutal winter.

The milder conditions will impact Toronto's network of outdoor ice rinks (Most of Toronto's typically open around November 28), and ski resorts that are popular haunts for Torontonians seeking a weekend getaway will be forced to either make artificial snow (once it gets cold enough), or delay opening the slopes (unlike in B.C., where Whistler Mountain opened a week early).

And then of course, there's the open waters of the Great Lakes. A milder start to the season means less ice cover -- a recipe for lake-effect snow squalls if a system moves through the region in time for the morning commute of people travelling from southwestern Ontario into the city.

Certainly plenty of pros and cons to a milder start to the season.

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