By Marcia Love
Residents across the Prairies shouldn’t need to pull on their parkas and snow boots too often this winter, according to AccuWeather.
Its meteorologists are predicting a dry, mild season across the prairie provinces. AccuWeather released its winter outlook last week, and above-normal temperatures are expected to envelope Western Canada.
Drier and milder weather will be a dominant theme across the Prairie region this winter as the Polar jet stream gets displaced farther to the north, AccuWeather reported. This pattern will greatly limit the amount and duration of Arctic air masses that normally impact the region.
Average temperatures could be as much as three degrees Celsius above normal in cities such as Edmonton, Calgary and Regina.
AccuWeather added significant snowfall events will be few and far between across the Prairies, as the primary storm track will generally remain farther south across the central and southern U.S.
Further west, compared to last winter there will be more snow across the coastal mountains of western British Columbia. Farther east in the Rockies of eastern British Columbia and western Alberta, snowfall will underachieve this winter, according to AccuWeather. The majority of the snow in this region will fall during the first half of the winter before a drier pattern sets up during January and February.
Heading east, because this coming winter will not be nearly as cold as last winter thanks in part to El Niño, there is expected to be increased risks for ice storms in Ontario and Quebec.
This should lead to a noticeable difference in heating bills compared to last year. Much of Ontario, including the lake-effect snow belts, will have less snowfall compared to normal, as the main storm track shifts to the south and east during January and February. As the storm track shifts toward the East Coast later in January and February, there will be an increased risk for significant snowfall events across eastern Quebec.
A mild but stormy winter is forecast for Eastern Canada. The combination of a strong El Niño and warmer-than-usual sea-surface waters surrounding the region will lead to slightly higher temperatures compared to normal this winter. But the winter could turn snowy again from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.