Winter forecast for Alberta: Prepare for a polar vortex

Oct 15 2021, 4:15 pm

A weather phenomenon known as La Niña could play a role in this year’s winter season, with colder-than-normal Pacific temperatures creating storms and cold temperatures in Alberta.

AccuWeather released its winter forecast, predicting that an amplified polar jet stream caused by La Niña could usher in colder air and more frequent systems.

During last year’s winter, which was also influenced by La Niña conditions, the country had abnormally high temperatures. Yet come February, that trend flipped, with cities such as Edmonton and Winnipeg recording some of their lowest temperatures in recorded history.

La Niña’s effects will be felt most keenly in Western Canada, according to meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The weather sounds miserable for commuters, but it could be a boon for ski resorts.

“Abundant snowfall is expected throughout much of ski country from the Coastal Range of British Columbia through the Rockies of western Alberta.”



The winter will be about 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius lower than average for the southern Prairies, Anderson said, with the lowest departures across Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Albertans may need an extra layer under their winter jackets this year. The Polar Vortex could be displaced from its usual area above the North Pole into central Canada.

polar vortex


This happened last February, and it could happen again this winter.

Residents should be prepared for temperatures as low as -30°C.

“I believe we may see at least three extreme blasts of bitterly cold air dropping down into the southern Prairies this winter,” Anderson said. “This winter will likely end up colder than the winter of 2018-2019 and the coldest winter since 2013-2014 in the region.”

With files from Megan Devlin

Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

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