Canadian weather forecasts compared: Arctic blasts and a 'classic Canadian winter'
Published Monday, November 20, 2017 12:33PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 21, 2017 7:20AM EST
Blizzard conditions, freezing rain, nor’easters, and icy Arctic air are all in the forecast for Canadians this winter, as the country’s weather experts release their predictions for the season ahead.
As Dec. 21 nears, however, there are different expectations for how winter will unfold: The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a “milder-than-average” season, while The Weather Network’s winter forecast expects “a wild ride from start to finish.”
David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, said that the winter ahead will bring “something for everybody,” and that variable conditions – snowy days followed by melting and thawing – will make the season feel shorter overall.
“I think the winter won’t be as harsh as some people think it will be, but clearly we’re not going to cancel it – we never have in this country. We are still the second coldest country in the world and we’re still the snowiest,” Phillips told CTV News Channel in a video chat from Barrie on Monday.
Wet vs. dry conditions
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, North America’s oldest regularly published periodical, is forecasting a dry season ahead for most Canadians.
According to the Almanac, much of the country will see less snow and rain than usual this winter, with the exception of Yukon, much of Quebec, northern Labrador, and a swath of southeastern Ontario. These regions will see more snow than usual. Atlantic Canada, on the other hand, will be wetter than normal, with above-average rainfall in the forecast.
Meanwhile, The Weather Network is expecting much of the country to see normal or above-normal precipitation this winter. Southeastern B.C., southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, southern and central Ontario, southern Quebec, and much of the Maritime provinces all fall into The Weather Network’s “above-normal” precipitation forecast for this winter.
Mild vs. frigid temperatures
Southern Ontario, the Maritimes, Newfoundland, and northern parts of the territories are forecast to see above-normal temperatures this winter, according to Environment Canada’s seasonal outlook.
The weather agency has yet to release its official forecast, but early indications also show a colder winter in Western Canada and on the Prairies, Phillips said.
Both AccuWeather and The Weather Network predict cold winter weather ahead on the Prairies, with Arctic air expected to cross parts of the region often this season. According to The Weather Network, the Prairies can expect the country’s harshest winter weather.
Snowstorms and freezing rain
AccuWeather meteorologists expect southwestern Ontario – particularly central and northern areas close to the Great Lakes – to see significant lake-effect snow due to unusually warm lake temperatures. Significant snowfall events are also expected from Windsor to the Greater Toronto Area, extending into Ottawa and Montreal, between January and February. Rain and ice are forecast to be potential threats for residents along the north shore of Lake Erie.
The Weather Network predicts a similar season for Ontario and Quebec, saying both provinces can expect a “classic Canadian winter” with above-average snowfall for central and southern areas. As for the Greater Toronto Area, The Weather Network predicts the region may see its snowiest winter in a decade.
Like AccuWeather, The Weather Network is also calling for the increased risk of freezing rain for parts of southern Ontario.
Favourable conditions for winter sports
The Weather Network and AccuWeather are both in agreement about an excellent ski season ahead for Western Canada, with B.C.’s mountain ranges already seeing a significant snow pack.