Thursday, October 22, 2015

AccuWeather forecast calls for warm winter in Canada

The AccuWeather Canadian winter forecast was released on Wednesday. It is predicting that a strengthening El Nino will produce a record warm winter across the country. (
According to U.S.-based AccuWeather, most of Canada is going to have a warmer-than-normal winter this year. The question is: How warm? David Phillips, Senior Climatologist for Environment Canada, is calling this year's event a "Super El Nino", the Goliath of El Ninos. As I've mentioned before, El Ninos tend to create a more zonal or west to east weather pattern, trapping the really cold air across the far north and allowing mild Pacific air to dominate the country. What this usually means is that most of Canada is much warmer and dryer than in a normal winter, about 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above the long-term averages. There are some exceptions. A few cool parcels of air can break off from time to time and move across southern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. This usually results in a brief period of cold weather followed by an increased risk of snow or freezing rain. In January and February we may see an increase in coastal storms affecting eastern Quebec and the western Maritimes with heavy snow. One or two may clip southern Quebec.

1997-1998 El Nino
During the last El Nino of at least this strength in the winter of 97/98 (and this one looks stronger), I was living in southern Saskatchewan and we basically had no winter. That included a dry, brown, almost hot Christmas Day 1997 that had us outside playing street hockey in our t-shirts. Just two weeks later, Montreal would get hit by the Great Ice Storm. The week-long event in early January 1998 was responsible for 28 deaths and damages exceeding 1.75 billion across Ontario, Quebec, New York and New Brunswick. There is some concern we may see another ice storm this year, but I caution, every event is different and specific details are yet to be determined at this point. We can only forecast trends this far out. Expect warmer weather, less snow and lower hydro bills for the winter of 2015-2016.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I'm happy to hear that it will be a warmer winter but a little disappointed to hear there will be less snow. Last year we didn't get any BIG storms and I was hoping for a whopper before we move away to Colorado! :)