Most Canadians will wake up to a green Christmas
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:48PM EST
More Canadians will wake up to a green or brown Christmas on Dec. 25 than those who will wake up to a white one, according to Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.
With just four days to go before Christmas, Phillips said he's never seen so little snow on the ground in the southern part of Canada, from coast to coast.
"This year when you think about it, here are the cities where we might very well not see a white Christmas: Halifax and Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver," Phillips told CTV's Canada AM.
For a city to qualify as having a white Christmas, there must be two centimetres of snow on the ground at 7 a.m. on Dec. 25, according to Environment Canada.
In the north, the chances of that happening are higher than elsewhere. Phillips said Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, as well as the northern Prairie cities such as Fort McMurray and Flin Flon are likely to see a white Christmas.
Quebec City currently has four centimetres of snow, which will likely stick around until Christmas morning, and St. John's, N.L. is currently sitting at eight centimetres, but with rain in the forecast.
Because the month of December has been on average five to six degrees warmer than normal -- milder than Phillips has ever seen in December -- most snow that has fallen has melted soon after hitting the ground, he said.
Even in Ottawa and Montreal, which usually have a white Christmas, chances are slim this year, Phillips said.
"And it's going to be sunny and very mild so we're going to be dreaming a lot harder I think this year," Phillips said.
"Temperatures will cool off a bit but there's no weather-maker on the map."
However, he added that four days is a lifetime in Canadian weather forecasting, and the situation could change quickly.
He said that in 2008 Canadians across the entire country enjoyed a white Christmas -- the only time in the 55 years Environment Canada has been keeping weather records that has happened.
With winters generally becoming milder, and starting later, "this idea of a white Christmas is the kind of thing we may see less of in the future," Phillips said.
He added that those who love winter should not give up hope just yet.
"We're calling for milder than normal conditions in the eastern part of Canada and normal to cooler than normal in the west. So for those that love winter be a little more patient, it will come, it always does here in Canada."