Environment Canada is predicting a warmer winter with less snow right across the country.
But agency research scientist Doctor Nathan Gillett warns precipitation estimates should be taken with a grain of road salt.
“Just in general, we tend to have more confidence in our predictions of temperature than we do of precipitation,” says Gillett. “The prediction is very clear for warmer than average temperature conditions, but for the precipitation it’s much more uncertain.”
Those milder temperatures are most likely in Atlantic Canada, the British Columbia coast, northern Ontario and Quebec, and parts of the North West Territories and Nunavut. Gillett says that’s due to a combination of man-made climate change and a strong El Niño weather system off the South American coast.
As for the region between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa Valley, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Peter Kimbell says we can expect more snow over the next few days. However, Kimbell says it’s impossible to predict how long these snow squalls might persist, as the weather systems that would create them might not yet exist.
“We could have slightly warmer than normal water temperatures and less ice formations, and therefore a greater potential for snow squall activities, but those are a bunch of ifs,” says Kimbell. “The link between El Niño and the weather in Eastern Ontario is pretty weak at best. So all bets are off. We’ll have to just wait and see when individual storm systems roll through, because forecasting long term is a difficult game.”