Expect a warmer, wetter Canadian winter, says Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.
That doesn’t mean that this month or next month won’t be icicle cold. The whole winter, on average, is expected to be warmer-than-normal, Phillips said. A cold December or January could get balanced out by a warm February and March, or vice versa.
The other major factor that can throw off expectations is instability. It’s expected to be a La Nina year. La Nina (Spanish for little girl) events occur every three to five years and refers to a cooling of the Pacific Ocean’s surface temperature at the equator, sending a jet-like stream of cooler air across the United States and Canada. For Western Canada that usually means colder than normal weather. In Eastern Canada, it means the weather is less constant, Phillips said.
Instead of two weeks of winter before a warm-weather break, expect things to oscillate every couple of days or week. La Nina also tends to mean Eastern Canada gets more precipitation, which could mean more snow but also more rain or freezing rain, he said.