Winter Forecast: Cold for Prairies; Snowy for Ontario

It is expected to be cold, but not necessarily snowy across much of Western Canada this year, while Ontario may see the exact opposite conditions.

Released on Thursday, AccuWeather’s 2021-22 winter forecast suggests that with the climatological phenomenon known as La Niña present far out in the Pacific Ocean once again this year, winter temperatures across the Prairies could be even colder than normal.

During last year's winter, which was also influenced by La Niña conditions, temperatures across the entire country averaged well above normal in January. Yet come February, that trend flipped, with cities such as Edmonton and Winnipeg recording some of their lowest temperatures in recorded history.

In fact, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson said he expects the upcoming winter could end up colder than the winter of 2018-19 and the coldest since 2013-14 for the Prairies.

"I believe we may see at least three extreme blasts of bitterly cold air dropping down into the southern Prairies this winter," Anderson said, noting that temperatures could plunge lower than 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (30 below zero C) on those occasions.

Meanwhile, as shown on the map below, winter precipitation is expected to be mostly normal across Western Canada, an improvement from last year’s relatively dry winter season but no panacea considering the current dry soil conditions.

As for Ontario, AccuWeather sees more snow than normal, along with generally milder temperatures.

"While this winter does not look all that cold from Ontario to Quebec, it will be cold enough to support many opportunities for significant snowfall this winter," Anderson said.

But a milder start to winter for areas surrounding the Great Lakes won't dictate a lack of snow for the season as a whole. AccuWeather experts expect an above-average season snow total for Toronto, the nation's most populous city, which could arrive in a similar fashion as last year's winter when nearly 6 inches fell in mid-February.

Winter precip forecast

Winter temp forecast

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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