White Christmas dreamers can rest assured
Most Canadians dreaming of a white Christmas can rest easy, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.
There's actually a definition of white Christmas, Phillips explained in an interview with CTV's Canada AM Friday morning. One only needs to go outside and check how much snow is on the ground.
Anything more than two centimetres qualifies.
On the West Coast, Phillips says there's only ever a one-in-ten chance of there being snow on the ground Christmas Day. And this year, Canadians living closest to the Pacific won't beat the odds.
""It's going to be a wet and soggy one with some strong winds," he said, noting that conditions are "touch-and-go" for communities like Kelowna in the B.C. interior, where snow on the ground today could be gone before tomorrow.
Across the Prairies, however, there's no doubt.
"It's a done deal," Phillips explained. "Particularly from Regina to Winnipeg, they'll be having probably the deepest white Christmas of any place in Canada."
Those same snowy conditions continue into Ontario, but stop short of the country's largest city.
"At Toronto's Pearson (airport) they have one centimetre of snow, so they won't qualify because they're not going to get any snow today," Phillips said, suggesting anyone pining for the white stuff there need only look as far as the suburbs.
"In the backyards of Toronto, where everybody lives, there's probably about 5 or 6 centimetres of snow. So you can get in the mood there."
A trip further southwest to the London and Sarnia area will give snow-seekers even more to enjoy -- up to 10 times more, in fact -- leftover from the blinding wintry storms that stranded hundreds of motorists for days last week.
Continuing eastward to the nation's capital and into Quebec, Philips says Christmas comes with a blanket of snow.
The outlook changes across much of the Atlantic provinces, however, as Christmas there comes on the heels of a fierce storm system that's made this Christmastime more wet than white.
"It doesn't look good," Phillips said of the chance many Maritimers will enjoy a white Christmas. "Certainly not in Nova Scotia, not in many parts of New Brunswick and in Newfoundland and Labrador it doesn't look very good at all."
Looking at the weather outlook across Canada Phillips said he's most surprised about conditions on "The Rock."
"Happy Valley-Goose Bay has never had a green Christmas, but they may see one this year," he said, comparing the unlikely conditions on Labrador to Vancouver recording the country's deepest Christmas-Day snow cover.
That's only happened once, when consecutive snowstorms and record-breaking low temperatures conspired to give Vancouver the whitest Christmas in Canada for 2008.