The seasons are changing in a hurry and according to the latest prediction, meteorologists are hinting at a possible severe start to winter.
For the second year in a row, La Niña, an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon that is the colder counterpart of El Niño, is developing in the Pacific Ocean.
During last year’s winter, which was also influenced by La Niña conditions, Canada faced abnormally high temperatures, often as much as four degrees Celsius above average winter temperatures in January (which is usually -15 degrees Celsius.)
Yet, a month later, the trend flipped as a polar vortex caused cities such as Edmonton and Winnipeg to record some of the lowest temperatures in Canadian history.
According to AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson, a La Niña phase occurs on average every three to five years. During this phase, the sea temperature in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean dips to below-average levels.
The effects of La Niña on Canada will likely send temperatures across the country falling even lower than they usually do during the average winter.
In addition, the effects of an amplified polar jet stream due to La Niña could result in more frequent storms.
Anderson predicts that Canada will face similar frosty conditions to last year’s polar vortex although some areas of the country could be spared.
In the West, he is predicting that the upcoming winter will be fairly stormy. Abundant snowfall is expected throughout much of ski country from the Coastal Range of British Columbia through to the Rockies of Western Alberta.
In the central portions of Canada, La Niña’s frigid ripple effects will mix with the harsh cold unleashed by blasts from the polar vortex. The combination could require an extra layer under the winter jacket this year, particularly for those who live in the Prairies.
Anderson said residents in much of the eastern half of the country will save themselves a few dollars on heating costs, as he predicts Eastern Canada will see less severe winter weather.
Climatologically above-average temperatures are likely in store for some regions, which include Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
Off the country’s east coast, warmer-than-average water in the Atlantic Ocean will also play a character in the season’s winter forecast.
The combination of a storm track skewing north and west, along with very warm water temperatures in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, will favor a milder winter with average snowfall in Atlantic Canada.
In terms of the possibility for coastal storms and nor’easters, Anderson warned that residents of Atlantic Canada will need to keep their guard up through February.
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