By Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
TORONTO – One of Canada’s high profile weather forecasters is warning Canadians across the country to brace for a whole lot of snow this winter.
Chris Scott, The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist, says the message from his forecast team is “buckle up, because it looks like a stormy winter.”
Scott says this year’s La Nina weather system bears a striking resemblance to that of 2007-2008, when Toronto had its snowiest winter on record.
“History tells us that when we have cooler waters off the coast of South America, that’s La Nina, and those winters tend to be classic Canadian winters.”
British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada are all in store for above normal levels of precipitation, according to the forecast.
In western Canada, that precipitation will likely be snow as the region shivers in below normal temperatures.
In Atlantic Canada, where temperatures are expected to be close to above normal, forecasters expect plenty of snow and ice but periods of milder weather and rain will keep snowbanks from getting too high.
Scott says storms with lots of snow are forecast for December in the eastern half of Canada, while in the western half of the county, the winter conditions are expected to start in January.
La Nina winters often mean changeable weather, and Scott says that while Canadians can expect to be pounded by numerous snowstorms, there will also be sustained periods of milder weather.
“You might get two out of three months where you think, ‘wow, that was a wild winter,’ and then one month where the winter goes away,” he explains. “But this will be a winter that’s more on than off.”
Scott says Southern Ontario and Quebec might see mild conditions during all of January.
The weather pattern also calls for a winter that lingers, meaning the country could experience snowstorms as late as March.
Scott notes that in the prairies a strong snow pack could benefit soil conditions and help produce a bountiful spring harvest.
Ski resorts are also anticipating a banner season, especially in western Canada, where the coastal mountains are already getting snow.
The only region of Canada not following the nation-wide trend is Nunavut, which has seen warming temperatures in recent years due to global warming. Scott says Nunavut can expect warmer than usual temperatures again this winter, along with average levels of snow.