Harsher winter ahead for Canadians this year
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012 5:03PM EDT
Canadians hoping for a repeat of last year’s mild winter will be disappointed, says Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips, who predicts that this winter will feel longer and tougher.
Last year Canada experienced its third-warmest and second-driest winter on the record. The trend this year will be near-normal to warmer than normal temperatures, Phillips told CTV News Channel in an interview Tuesday.
But even if it’s a milder winter with less snow it will still feel more extreme than last year, he said.
“It won’t be like last year. Last year we cancelled winter in Canada,” said Phillips.
According to Phillips, the coming winter will cater to people that love tobogganing, skiing, snowmobiling and other winter sports -- it will give them a chance to enjoy a winter they didn’t get last year.
The transition to fall hit Toronto with a heavy rainstorm on Tuesday, which like most of Eastern Canada will remain wet for the next six or seven days.
In Western Canada, temperatures have been 10 degrees higher than normal. However, frost did touch down in Saskatchewan on Monday night.
Phillips said this is partly related to the residual heat in the lakes, lands and oceans that will keep the summer-like weather ahead.
Canadians may get an extra hit of warmth when El Nino, the abnormal warming of the surface ocean waters in the Pacific, hits. According to Phillips, the effect tends to produce a milder than normal winter in Canada.
Weather forecasters say there’s a 50 per cent chance of an El Nino developing through the rest of the year, which could translate to late warmth for Canada, said Phillips.
Overall, Canada has benefitted from good weather this year. Compared to the Unites States and other countries suffering major droughts, Canada has had about 10 per cent more precipitation.
“The fact that we didn’t see drought conditions everywhere, certainly Canadian farmers in the West benefitted from high prices and very favourable weather,” he said.