Although weather forecasters are the first to admit that it’s impossible to predict what will happen months out, they can look at the data, history and trends to make an educated guess. This year they are reporting that there is no El Nino or La Nina weather pattern to influence temperatures or precipitation in any direction.
Last week Environment Canada made its winter forecast for the next few months, November through early January, and is predicting a milder winter east of the Great Lakes compared to seasonal averages, near-normal temperatures for the southern and central Prairies, and below normal temperatures for B.C., the northern prairies, and Arctic.
In terms of precipitation, the forecast is for average snow in the eastern half of the country, and normal to above normal snowfall in the Prairies.
For B.C., which has seen record-breaking months in recent winters, the forecast is for normal to below normal amounts of precipitation.
By way of comparison, the Canadian edition of the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting colder and wetter than average winters across the country. However, for Southern B.C., they are predicting milder temperatures with above-normal rainfall and snowfall, with the heaviest snows in mid-December and mid-January. April and May are also expected to be cooler than normal, but with below-normal precipitation.
The Almanac, which some people swear by, makes predictions on criteria developed in 1792. It takes solar activity and sunspot cycles into consideration when making regional predictions.
While Whistler may be behind recent years for early season snowfall, a storm last week delivered nearly 40 cm in the alpine. The forecast Wednesday was for the freezing level to drop to 1,400 metres overnight and to the valley bottom by Thursday. There is a 70 per cent chance of flurries in the alpine Friday, although freezing levels will climb.
Environment Canada will release an updated forecast in late November for December to February.
Meanwhile, European resorts are reporting record early snowfall, with a base over two metres already at resorts in Switzerland, and nearly that amount in Austria and Italy. In North America, Snowbird in Utah opened last week with a metre of snow — the second-earliest opening in the resort’s 35-year history.