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CANADA | Dreaming of a white Christmas?

Holiday Snow Report: Down to the wire for white Christmas

Digital writers

Monday, December 24, 2018, 9:12 AM - It's Christmas eve and Santa has begun his flight, but that magic sleigh will be soaring over soggy, brown grass rather than fluffy, white snow as he makes his delivers to millions of Canadians this year.

The map below shows the current snow cover across Canada. While most of the country is still covered with snow, many of the more densely populated areas have little to no snow on the ground; even less than there was at the beginning of the weekend in parts of the east.

This includes the south coast of B.C. and parts of the Interior, parts of the southern Prairies, much of southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, and -- thanks to Saturday's storm -- now much of the southern Maritimes.

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Here is a look at our thoughts regarding the chance of a white Christmas for different cities across the country. This is taking into consideration the amount of snow that is currently on the ground and the forecast between now and Christmas. 

A last second shot of snow will bring a few centimetres to parts of southern and eastern Ontario through Christmas Eve, with amounts boosted along the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay by some lake-enhanced snow showers. Up to 10 cm of fresh snowfall is expected through Monday night for parts of the snowbelt north of London, as well as over the Kawarthas and Algonquin. Away from these regions, however, scattered show showers and flurries won't amount to much in the way of accumulation along the 401 corridor between Windsor and Montreal, limiting the chances for a white Christmas there.

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Widespread heavy rain and temperatures soaring into double digits across much of the Maritimes, and even into parts of Newfoundland, have washed away much of the snow pack that was in place through late last week, particularly over southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. While rain fell all the way to central Labrador, the snow is deep enough across northern areas to make it through the mild spell and still have a white Christmas. Cold air has returned to the region, but unfortunately the chance for renewed snowfall before Christmas day is slim.

A weak system spread snow across parts of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan through the end of last week, and also served to reinforce snow cover over Manitoba, making a white Christmas a lock for spots like Edmonton and Winnipeg. Along most of the southern tier of the region, however, drier-than-average conditions so far this season have put a damper on snow cover. While some Christmas eve flurries are expected in southern Saskatchewan, most of this region will remain dry -- and cold -- through Christmas day.

The alpine regions of B.C. have received an abundance of snow last week, but rain has been the story across the lower elevations. A white Christmas is unlikely for the south coast and most of the southern Interior as temperatures will continue to be near or above seasonal until the 25th.

As we look at the historical odds of seeing a white Christmas, we can see that many of the places that may miss out on a white Christmas this year also have the greatest uncertainty from year to year. The greatest “surprises” of this year looks to be across southern Saskatchewan, including Regina where 9 out of 10 years have a white Christmas and Thunder Bay where a white is typically almost a guarantee. Montreal and Ottawa also stands out with just a slight chance for a white Christmas in an area where 3 out of 4 Christmases are white. 

Most of the places where a white Christmas is probable or guaranteed this year can typically count on a white Christmas each year. 

We will be updating our forecast each day as we get closer to Christmas, so please check back for the latest information for your area.

With files from Dr. Doug Gillham


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