Cold Makes a Comeback in Canada This Winter

By , Meteorologist
October 19, 2012; 5:52 AM
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Following the third warmest winter on record in Canada last year, AccuWeather.com forecasts snow and cold to make a comeback across much of the nation this winter.

Atlantic Canada and the Maritime Provinces will be one exception to colder weather, but long-range forecasters expect major winter storms to have an impact on the region.

Southern Ontario and Quebec should have a return of winter with near-normal temperatures and snow, especially during January and February.

Slightly colder-than-normal weather with near-normal snow is predicted for most of the Prairie region, which was the warmest spot last winter.

While portions of Alberta and British Columbia may be chilly, a drier-than-normal pattern is expected.

A breakdown of the winter forecast can be found below.

Jump to: Stormy for Atlantic Canada, Maritime Provinces | Snow, Cold Return to Ontario and Quebec | The Stage is Set for Lake-Effect Snow in Ontario | Colder Than Normal for Saskatchewan, Manitoba | Chilly and Drier Than Normal for Alberta, British Columbia

Stormy for Atlantic Canada, Maritime Provinces
A mild and fairly calm December may be in store, but above-normal water temperatures off the coast of Atlantic Canada might allow storms to strengthen further. Big storms are most likely during the middle to latter part of winter.

An active storm track later in the season means intense rounds of rain, snow and wind may impact Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

"For Saint John's and Halifax, we do expect a fairly stormy winter, especially from January through February, a number of coastal storms, I believe, will be coming up in those areas," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. "But with at least milder-than-normal temperatures this winter, we could see an equal amount of snow and rainstorms coming into both of these cities."

Farther inland, for a zone stretching from New Brunswick to central and western Newfoundland, snowfall may be above normal. Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Gander and Corner Brook, Newfoundland, are among the cities and towns predicted to receive more snow than usual this winter. Back to Top

Snow, Cold Return to Ontario and Quebec
Meteorologists anticipate a slow start to winter with a mild and quiet December, but more typical winter conditions will take hold of southern Ontario and Quebec by later in January and February.

"Once we get into the second half of January and February, I believe we are going to see a stronger storm pattern coming up from the south and also some cold air getting tapped from the north. So, I believe we may be actually seeing above-normal snow for places such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal during the heart of the winter," Anderson explained.

Snow in Toronto, Ontario, on Dec. 17, 2007 from Flickr user ocad123.

Averaged out through the entire winter season, snowfall should turn out near normal for Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

Along with the comeback of snow, arctic air invasions will be possible, particularly across Ontario. The most bitter cold will have a harder time making it into areas farther north and east.

Skiing and snowmobiling conditions should be improved this winter with the return of wintry weather, especially during the middle to latter part of the season. Back to Top

The Stage is Set for Lake-Effect Snow in Ontario
With the unusually warm water of the Great Lakes, there is a greater potential for heavy lake-effect snow events as long as cold blasts reach the region.

"I think starting in December, it's going to be fairly mild, so I think lake effect will be less than normal. Once we get into January and February and get some cold air invasions, we're looking at near- to above-normal lake-effect [snow]," Anderson said.

Colder Than Normal for Saskatchewan, Manitoba
Colder air may make a comeback across the Canadian Prairies this winter with below-normal temperatures.

Following a very dry fall across the region, drier-than-normal weather will persist through December across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That should change during January and February as some quick-hitting storms may have an impact.

"For Regina and Winnipeg, I think we are going to see an increase in Alberta Clipper systems, especially the second half of winter, which should bring quick shots of snowfall to both those cities during that time," Anderson said.

While Alberta Clipper systems are fast-moving and do not have much moisture associated with them, a moderate amount of snow is predicted for this winter. Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg are expected to have near-normal snowfall this winter. Back to Top

Chilly and Drier Than Normal for Alberta, British Columbia
While a large area of high pressure dominates Alaska and at times western Canada, drier-than-normal conditions may be in store for much of Alberta and British Columbia this winter. British Columbia has already endured water shortages resulting from a record dry fall, and drier weather this winter may add stress to the situation.

Meanwhile, the door will be open for shots of arctic air across British Columbia and Alberta at times this winter.

"For Vancouver, I think the winter overall looks drier than normal with near-normal temperatures. But with this type of pattern, a drier pattern, the nights are going to be chillier than normal. Also, this opens the door to some quick shots of arctic air," Anderson added. "In terms of storms, storms will be weaker but colder, so that could favor snow a little bit more than we usually see."

This photo of snowboarding in Fernie, Canada, on March 1, 2009 is from Flickr user cb6379.

Near-normal snowfall is predicted for the Canadian Rockies, likely to the delight of skiers, while Alberta Clipper systems graze the area. With cold air, the snow that falls will stick around through much of the winter and into spring. Back to Top

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