El Nino could mean a milder, shorter winter for Canadians
Forecasters are predicting there will be fewer of those bone-chilling, cheek-numbing days this winter thanks to a monster-sized El Nino.
Environment Canada said it is expecting a milder and shorter winter, as the weather system is expected to push warm air across the country.
"The last time we had one this big was 18 years ago and that was one of the warmest winters on record here in Canada," Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips told CTV News on Friday. "We think this will be a repeat."
The El Nino, a flow of warmer-than-average surface waters from the Pacific Ocean, changes weather patterns across much of the world. Historically, El Nino events occur about every two to seven years.
News of a more forgiving winter this year will likely be a huge a relief for those still trying to forget about last year’s harsh winter.
In Atlantic Canada, residents endured record-breaking amounts of snowfall. The brutal wintry weather even extended into the spring, making it difficult for some species of migratory birds to hunt for worms and insects as much of the snow-covered ground was still frozen in April.
In Ontario and Quebec, the cold snap seemed endless.
For residents in Toronto, February was the city's most frigid month ever. According to Environment Canada, Feb. 23 and 24 were coldest on record, with the mercury dipping to -21.6 C and -20.4 C.
The previous record for Feb. 23 was -19.4 in 1972. The coldest Feb. 24 was in 1993, when temperatures reached -19.4.
On both days, wind chills reached between -30 and -40, meaning exposed skin could freeze in about 10 minutes.
Despite the predicted mild winter, however, Environment Canada said Canadians will likely still need to bundle up this year.
"There will be moments when we wish we were somewhere else," Phillips said.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Vanessa Lee