Strong El Niño Makes for an Unpredictable Canadian Winter

Canada's winter forecast is complex this year, with El Niño and unusual weather patterns
Canada's winter forecast is complex this year, with El Niño and unusual weather patterns

NetNewsLedger Weather Desk: Canada’s 2023-24 Winter Forecast

Thunder Bay – Weather – This winter, Canada faces one of the strongest El Niño events on record. While El Niño typically brings mild winters to Canada, this year’s weather outlook is more complex.

Early Winter 2023-24

In the weeks leading up to December, most of Canada can expect near-normal or above-normal temperatures. However, “normal” temperatures are still cold enough for wintry conditions.

Based on past strong El Niño winters, a mild pattern may dominate. But this year’s unique global weather pattern, influenced by El Niño and northern Pacific Ocean temperatures, could bring unexpected twists.

Mid to Late 2023-24 Winter

The winter’s defining factor in eastern Canada will be whether the mild pattern persists or if cold weather dominates during January and February. The current global weather pattern deviates from the norm, suggesting the possibility of an extended period of traditional winter weather.

The official winter forecast is a compromise between the colder and milder scenarios. Eastern Prairies to Atlantic Canada could see winter making more than just a token appearance in January and February.

Precipitation and Snow

An active storm track is anticipated along the southern and eastern U.S. coasts, affecting Atlantic Canada with near-normal to above-normal precipitation. Elsewhere in Canada, near-normal or below-normal precipitation and snowfall are expected.

Southern Ontario and Quebec may see a gradient between below-normal and above-normal precipitation, depending on the storm track’s movement.

Regional Winter Forecasts

British Columbia: A classic El Niño pattern brings above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. Some wet periods, including “Pineapple Express” events, could impact the south coast.

Alberta: A relatively mild winter is expected, with below-normal snow totals and periods of mild, dry weather.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba: A milder-than-normal winter with periods of severe cold, particularly in January and February. Near-normal snowfall for most regions.

Ontario: A mild start to winter, but a return to wintry conditions around the holidays. Lake-effect snow expected in snowbelt areas later in the season.

Quebec: A relatively mild start with a transition to a colder pattern. Near-normal snow totals, depending on the storm track.

Atlantic Canada: Changeable but near-normal winter. Near-normal to slightly above-normal snow and rain totals. Periods of mild and cold weather.

Newfoundland & Labrador: Changeable but near-normal winter. Near-normal precipitation totals for the region.

Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut: Milder-than-normal temperatures with potential cold spells later in winter. Northern regions could experience colder conditions due to the polar vortex.

Canada’s winter forecast is complex this year, with El Niño and unusual weather patterns adding uncertainty. Be prepared for changing conditions and stay updated with local forecasts.

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