'T-Rex' of winters in store for Canada: Old Farmer's Almanac
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, September 18, 2014 9:55AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:26PM EDT
Brace yourself: the Old Farmer’s Almanac has revealed its predictions for Canada’s upcoming winter season, and it’s not great news.
After last winter’s seemingly never-ending wickedly cold weather, residents in much of the country can expect more of the same in the coming months.
“We’re looking at the T-Rex of winters,” Jack Burnett, editor of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, said on CTV’s Canada AM on Thursday.
“It’s going to be colder, it’s going to be snowier … it’s not pretty.”
According to the almanac, central Canada, in particular, is expected to experience winter’s nasty bite.
“From Calgary to Quebec, we’re going to be up to our neck,” Burnett said.
One of the few exceptions will be southwestern Ontario, which will be cold, but with below-normal snowfall.
Burnett said forecasts show that while Toronto and the surrounding region will experience a deep-freeze, it’s going to be drier this winter, with “fluffier snow.”
Atlantic Canada, meanwhile, is set for a milder, but wet winter season, according to the almanac.
‘Baby lamb’ of summers next year
It may seem far in the future, but warmer temperatures will return – eventually.
Summer in Canada is expected to be milder and wet, with hotter and drier temperatures concentrated in Western Canada.
“Nothing really spectacular in the summer,” Burnett said.
2015 predictions for Canada
- Near or slightly below normal temperatures across Canada
- Precipitation below normal in Quebec, above normal in Ontario, near normal elsewhere
- Above-normal temperatures, everywhere except Vancouver Island
- Above-normal rainfall in Maritimes westward through Prairies
- Below normal in British Columbia
- Above-normal temperatures from the Maritimes westward through Ontario
- Below-normal from Manitoba to the Pacific Ocean
- Precipitation slightly above normal in Prairies, at or below elsewhere
Long history of forecasts
The Almanac has been foretelling weather forecasts for 223 years, and claim their predictions have an average accuracy rating of approximately 80 per cent. The predictions are derived from a secret formula devised in 1792 by the almanac’s founder, Robert B. Thomas.
“We do have the physical formula, but it’s long since been put into computer algorithms,” Burnett said.
The almanac employs meteorology, climatology, solar patterns, and historical weather conditions to make its predictions.
Dave Phillips of Environment Canada doesn’t quite buy the almanac’s prediction, though.
“We like to think ours are a little bit more scientifically based on ocean temperatures and sea and ice conditions,” Phillips said. “Our models are clearly not showing the doom and gloom that the Farmers’ Almanac is saying.”
Phillips said Environment Canada’s forecasts aren’t always right, but that their predictions are more realistic than the almanac.
“I don’t know where they’re coming from. They’re calling it almost the ‘winter from hell’ and even forecasting ‘fluffier snow’ – I mean, get with it. How can you possibly know the snow is going to be fluffier?”
Global temperatures rise
Canada may be set for a drop in the mercury, but average global temperatures spiked during the summer months. U.S. meteorologists said Thursday that May, June and August all set global records this year. The average worldwide temperature was more than 16 C in August, which broke a record set in 1998.
August was particularly hot in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and in Africa.
Phillips said the warm ocean temperatures generally mean a milder winter, and he thinks that will especially be the case in Western Canada this year. Though he said conditions become more difficult to predict as winter wears on, Phillips had no doubt about one thing.
“This winter is not going to be as long and cold as last year,” he said. “Even if it’s a normal winter, it will feel like a tropical heat wave compared to what we had to endure as Canadians last year.”
With files from The Associated Press