Which Canadian cities can expect a white Christmas this year

Dec 16 2020, 4:32 pm

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas this year, you may have to keep wishing.

While it’s still too far away to make a definitive call, Environment Canada is expecting more of a green Christmas for some of the country’s larger cities.

The federal weather authority defines a white Christmas as two centimetres or more of snow on the ground at 7 am EST on December 25. For a “perfect Christmas” to occur, there must also be snow in the air sometime on Christmas day.

Peter Kimbell, a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at Environment Canada, said that although Toronto is expected to get a bit of snow on December 19, it will be followed by some milder weather.

“The only chance of a truly white Christmas depends on December 23, 24, and 25,” Kimbell said.

Based on historical data from 1955 to 2017, the City of Toronto has a 46% chance of having a white Christmas, while the GTA has a 52% chance. Between 1955 and 2007, Toronto had nine perfect Christmases, and the GTA had 13.

Of Canada’s largest cities, Ottawa recorded the highest number of perfect Christmases in the 63-year timeframe, with 35. The city has an 81% chance of a white Christmas, historically.

There’s no “significant” snowfall expected in Calgary’s short-term forecast, and a bit of mild weather will melt some of the snow that had already accumulated.

“Not a great chance of a white Christmas,” Kimbell said.

Historically, Calgary has a 59% chance of seeing snow on December 25, but the city only saw four perfect Christmases in the 63-year timeframe.

Head a few hours north to Edmonton, though, and the chances of a white Christmas jump to 87% – the highest chance of Canada’s large cities. The city has recorded 20 perfect Christmases in 63 years.

Vancouver is seeing, “usual mild weather, so a Green Christmas for them [is] most likely,” Kimbell said.

The city only has a 10% chance of snow on Christmas morning, historically, and only recorded four perfect Christmases between 1955 and 2007.

Montreal has a 76% chance of a white Christmas and has had 25 perfect Christmases in 63 years. Overall, Quebec has a 97% chance of snow on the ground come Christmas morning, with 60 perfect, snowy Christmases recorded.

The chances of having a white Christmas have fallen across Canada over the last 30 years.

With the exception of Vancouver, which has seen a 5% raise. All aforementioned cities have seen a five to 20% decrease in Christmas morning snow.

Keep dreaming of a white Christmas, Canada. Just like the ones we used to know.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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