Warm weather dominated most of Canada throughout the fall, and it seems like the country’s sudden flip to cold, and snow is a sign of what’s to come for this winter.
The Weather Network has released its winter weather forecast, calling for an “abrupt transition” into a period of wintry weather for most Canadians.
Specifically, the weather agency dives into what meteorologists are forecasting from December to February, and it seems like we’re in for plenty of cold and snow.
The Weather Network says a “strong start” to the winter season is anticipated, with “colder-than-normal temperatures” in the cards across “most of Canada” during December.
The agency credits the sudden switch of winter weather patterns to La Niña for the third year in a row.
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“This is just the fourth time on record we’ve seen a La Niña event persist for three consecutive years,” says the agency. “In addition, a piece of the polar vortex is expected to be located over northern Canada, providing an abundant source for Arctic air that should frequently plunge south and spread across much of the country during December.”
Take note the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice. Specifically, the new season comes into effect on Wednesday, December 21.
The agency says that once we get into January and February, winter will take a “couple of breaks,” offering mild weather, especially from Ontario to Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We expect that the national weather pattern will look like what we often see during La Niña winters, with frigid weather found across western Canada and milder temperatures from the Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada,” continues The Weather Network.
At times, the frigid weather will shift east and stretch from the eastern Prairies to Quebec, with milder weather across BC and Alberta. “This is much like what we saw during January and February of last winter,” says TWN.
The result for many Canadians will be what the agency calls a “two-faced winter,” which will feature extended periods of harsh winter weather and breaks of milder weather that may you leave you wondering, “what happened to winter?”
The La Niña pattern in the Pacific Ocean is expected to support an active storm track across southern Canada, leading to above-normal precipitation and snowfall for southern parts of BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
Here’s a more region-specific forecast for the entire country. Bundle up for December, folks.
The Weather Network is calling it a “come-and-go” winter for BC, with periods of mild weather and extended periods of “colder-than-normal” temperatures, bringing a heightened risk for some “severe cold.”
The forecast calls for below-normal precipitation totals for the northern and central coast and an “active storm track” for southern BC, which could bring “above-normal precipitation totals” to most of this region.
The track could also bring an “abundance of snow” to the alpine regions and, at times, “substantial snowfall” across lower elevations, including Vancouver, Victoria, and the Okanagan Valley.
Albertans can expect a “changeable winter” across the province, including periods of “severe cold and extended periods of milder weather.”
This could result in near-normal temperatures for the season as a whole across most of the province, including Edmonton and Calgary. However, eastern and northern parts of Alberta could tip to the cold side of normal.
A snowy winter is expected across southern Alberta, with near-normal snowfall elsewhere across the province. “The changeable and active pattern will also bring a heightened risk for blizzard conditions when Arctic air plunges south into the region,” says the agency.
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The first week of December will bring “changeable temperatures” but an overall “quick start” to winter with both “colder-than-normal” temperatures dominating into the holidays and a few rounds of “heavy lake-effect snow.”
However, winter is expected to take a break at times during January and February across Ontario.
An active storm track should bring “above-normal precipitation totals” to the province, including an “abundance of snow for ski areas.” However, several systems will bring a “messy mix of snow, ice, and even rain” at times.
Quebecers can expect a “strong start” to winter, with colder-than-normal temperatures in the cards for most of December.
Like Ontario, winter will take a break at times during January and February with the potential for an “extended thaw” across southern areas of the province.
Skiiers can expect an “abundance of snow,” but several systems will bring a messy mix of snow, ice, and rain periodically.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba
A frigid winter is expected across the central and eastern Prairies with a “heightened risk for periods of severe cold.” Saskatchewan and Manitoba can expect periods of milder weather at times, but overall a “classic Canadian winter for this region.”
The agency says the Prairies can expect a “heightened risk for blizzard conditions” at times.
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A “changeable winter” is expected across Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick, but the back-and-forth temperature swings should “tip to the warm side of normal across southern parts of the region for the season as a whole.”
The Maritimes typically sess an active storm track during winter, and The Weather Agency says this year will be no exception.
“Ocean water temperatures are once again much warmer than normal across the western Atlantic, which will help to provide extra fuel to many storm systems that impact the region.”
Newfoundland and Labrador
Similarly, Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to have a “changeable winter” with back-and-forth temperatures that should tip to the warm side of normal across the region.
A colder-than-normal winter is expected across southern parts of the Northwest Territories and southern Nunavut. However, above-normal temperatures are expected across eastern parts of Nunavut, including Iqaluit.