Will winter be a repeat of last year? The Weather Network delivers its Winter Outlook
Saturday, December 20, 2014, 7:50 PM - Embrace it or dread it, winter’s officially here and to provide an overview of what to expect The Weather Network’s meteorologists have released this year’s Winter Outlook, forecasting the months of December, January and February.
After most of the country experienced harsh conditions last winter, many are wondering how this year will compare.
Signals of a weak El Niño developing in the Pacific Ocean point toward colder than normal temperatures across the eastern Prairies, Ontario and Quebec while B.C. should see near or above normal temperatures. However, cold weather should not be as prolonged or quite as frigid as last winter.
"From the Rockies to Atlantic Canada, there’s the potential for extended periods of time where the weather will resemble last winter, but that’s not to say this winter will be an exact repeat," said Chris Scott, Chief Meteorologist at The Weather Network. "December will be a rollercoaster with outbreaks of cold air coupled with stretches of milder temperatures. Our forecast team expects January and February is when winter will really be felt, with more frequent outbreaks of extreme cold."
The general storm track will likely be situated across the Ohio Valley, northeast U.S. and Atlantic Canada and could have a significant impact on southern Ontario and Quebec.
The exact track of individual storms will determine whether the northeast U.S. or southern Canada gets the most snow this winter. On the other hand, the south coast of B.C. and extreme southern Alberta should expect below normal precipitation.
Much of Canada has already experienced cold snaps, but Canada’s not locked in to winter yet. The country’s wild temperature rollercoaster will continue during the next two weeks as the final days of November will bring weather more typical of January across much of southern Canada.
A Nor’easter will impact Atlantic Canada this week with heavy snow, heavy rain and strong winds. Interior B.C. and Alberta will also see substantial snowfall to go along with the frigid temperatures.
However, the mid-winter weather pattern will relax somewhat by the middle of next week. From southern Ontario and Quebec to Atlantic Canada, early December will start to feel more like early November. Western Canada will also see temperatures recover closer to seasonal and eventually above seasonal for a few days during early December.
The Weather Network’s meteorologists note that not all El Niño events are created equal. The signal they’ve observed is weak, meaning it’s not yet officially classified as El Niño.
While a moderate to strong El Niño can signify a warmer winter across Canada, a weak signal is often associated with colder temperatures.
Last year, southern B.C. saw slightly less than average snowfall and this year also shows challenging signs for avid skiers and snowboarders.
A combination of higher than average temperatures and below normal precipitation is expected for the south coast of B.C., with near normal precipitation and temperatures expected throughout the rest of the province.
Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan will experience dramatic swings between mild and cold conditions, averaging out to near normal temperatures. Extreme eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba should expect below normal temperatures.
Most areas are expected to see near normal precipitation, except for the extreme southern part of Alberta which will be below normal.
Ontario and Quebec
Most of Ontario and Quebec should experience below normal temperatures this winter. Southern parts of the provinces will likely be on the edge of an active storm track through the northeast U.S.
While most regions are forecast to be near normal for precipitation, there is the potential for more snow than normal especially if the storm track comes farther north.
Overall, near normal temperatures are expected for most of the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador. Above normal precipitation is expected across much of the region, which will be impacted by storms coming from the northeast U.S.
|Region||Temperature Outlook||Precipitation Outlook|
|British Columbia||Above normal in most of the southern part of the province. Near normal elsewhere.||Below normal in the southern part of the province. Near normal elsewhere.|
|Alberta||Near normal.||Below normal in the extreme southern part of the province. Near normal elsewhere.|
|Saskatchewan||Below normal in the extreme eastern part of the province. Near normal elsewhere.||Near normal.|
|Manitoba||Below normal almost everywhere except the area close to Hudson Bay where near normal temperatures are more likely.||Near normal.|
|Ontario||Below normal almost everywhere except for areas near Hudson Bay where near normal temperatures are more likely.||Near normal.|
|Quebec||Below normal almost everywhere except the northern part where near normal temperatures are more likely.||Near normal almost everywhere except above normal across the Lower North Shore, Gaspésie and Eastern Townships.|
|Near normal across most of the region except northern New Brunswick which is expected to be below normal.||Near normal across Nova Scotia and eastern Newfoundland. Above normal through New Brunswick, P.E.I., western Newfoundland and most of Labrador.|
|Generally near normal except for southeastern N.W.T. and southwestern Nunavut.||Below normal in the southwestern part of Yukon. Near normal elsewhere.|
A regional breakdown of the autumn forecast for select locations is provided below. The 3-month averages over December, January and February (DJF) are based on the 30-year period 1981 to 2010.
|Vancouver||Near Normal||Near Normal||High:7.1
|Victoria||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: 7.8
|Calgary||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -0.3
|Edmonton||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -5.2
|Regina||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -7.6
|Saskatoon||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -8.5
|Winnipeg||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -9.3
|Thunder Bay||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -6.2
|Sudbury||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -6.0
|Ottawa||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -3.8
Low: - 12.5
|Toronto||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -0.2
|Windsor||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: 0.9
|Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -3.3
|Fredericton||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -2.2
|Moncton||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -2.1
|Charlottetown||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -1.9
|Halifax||Above Normal||Near Normal||High: -0.1
|St. John's||Above Normal||Near Normal||High: 0.0
|Iqaluit||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -21.0
|Yellowknife||Near Normal||Above Normal||High: -19.2
|Whitehorse||Near Normal||Near Normal||High: -5.1