Map: Winter Forecast Suggests Heavier Snow in Some Prairie Drought Areas

This winter will bring heavier-than-normal precipitation to some drought-stricken Prairie areas but not all of them, according to the Weather Network’s winter outlook.

Released Monday, the seasonal forecast calls for above normal precipitation for the southern half of Alberta, and southwestern Saskatchewan (see map below). However, other parts of the Prairies, including all of Manitoba and northern and eastern Saskatchewan, are expected to see more typical precipitation amounts.

As for the forecast stands, most of the largest drought area of the Prairies – extending roughly from the Regina area eastward to Winnipeg – will miss out on the heaviest snow and the potential for a larger spring runoff, which would benefit next year’s planting season. On the other hand, drought areas around and south of Calgary are well within the expected band of heavier winter precipitation.

In terms of temperatures, bitterly cold conditions are forecast across much of Western Canada for January and February – following a relatively mild weather through the first half of December, during which record warm temperatures are possible. In the second half of December, the Prairies will transition to the colder pattern with a heightened risk for ‘extended periods of severe cold and dangerous wind chills through January and February.’

The Weather Network’s forecast for Ontario suggests a mostly mild winter but with plenty of uncertainty over precipitation amounts. The Great Lakes region all the way to the Maritimes is expected to experience extended periods with little to no snow this winter, but also the potential for major winter storms. The exact track of these storms will be the key to whether specific places within the region end up with above normal or below normal snowfall, the Weather Network said.

“A mild pattern certainly does not mean that we can't see an abundance of snow at times, especially across northern areas where temperatures can be well above seasonal and still cold enough for snow,” the forecast said. “This past November in southern Ontario has been a great example of that, as it recorded one of its warmest Novembers on record, and yet some places, including Toronto, received nearly double its average snowfall for the month.”

Ontario is entirely drought-free, although some abnormally dry conditions are continuing to persist in the Niagara region and environs.

Winter precip forecast

winter temps

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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