La Nina could bring forth cold and stormy winter to Canada, new forecast predicts
A woman walks a dog during a snowy day in Toronto, April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- The climatological phenomenon known as La Nina has returned, and that means many Canadians can expect a cold and stormy winter, according to AccuWeather's latest winter forecast.
La Nina, a cold weather event that normally occurs every three to five years, has surfaced for the second consecutive year over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated in a news release.
Last winter, temperatures were high across the country in January, up to about 4.5 C above normal. But in February, temperatures flipped and some areas, including Edmonton and Winnipeg, experienced record lows, according to AccuWeather.
The western half of Canada will likely go through below average temperatures again this winter, along with more stormy weather, AccuWeather predicts, due to an amplified polar jet stream.
"The upcoming winter is expected to be fairly stormy from southern British Columbia through the Canadian Rockies with many opportunities for significant rainfall and strong winds along the coast," AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson said on the company's website. "Abundant snowfall is expected throughout much of ski country from the coastal range of British Columbia through the Rockies of western Alberta."
In central Canada, La Nina, combined with the polar vortex, could result in frigid conditions.
"I believe we may see at least three extreme blasts of bitterly cold air dropping down into the southern Prairies this winter," Anderson said. During those events, he said temperatures may dip below -30 C. Average temperatures in the southern Prairies may be 1.5 to 2 C cooler as well.
Ontario and Quebec can expect more snow, according to the forecast, as storms from the U.S. are expected to swing upward in their direction thanks to the polar jet stream.
Although these provinces may see increased snowfall, the eastern half of Canada is expected to experience above-average temperatures.
Atlantic Canada is where the effects of La Nina may finally hit the warmer-than-average waters of the Atlantic Ocean, reports AccuWeather, which may lead to a milder winter, at least at first.
"The greatest threat for powerful coastal storms in Atlantic Canada will come in February," Anderson said. "The clash of advancing cold air from the west with the abnormally warm waters of the northwest Atlantic may lead to some rapidly developing storms with a lot of wind and heavy precipitation from the Maritimes to Newfoundland."