11/28/2011 10:49 EST | Updated 01/28/2012 05:12 EST

La Nina Could Bring 'Extreme' Weather This Winter: Weather Network

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OAKVILLE, Ont. - Canadians should brace for a messy, unpredictable and stormy winter, with many of the ups and down blamed on the return of La Nina.

"This is going to be a real roller-coaster of a winter," said Chris Scott, a meteorologist with The Weather Network.

"The thing to prepare for this winter is a lot of ups and downs, a lot of freeze/thaws cycles, especially in areas that are closer to freezing."

In a forecast for December to February the Weather Network released Monday, the wintry weather is predicted to be similar to that felt last year, with some big rain and snow storms as well as windier than average conditions.

The culprit behind much of that unpredictability will be La Nina, a large pool of colder than normal water off the coast of South America, which tends to make for very changeable conditions.

"We can't say for sure whether we're in for a `Snowmaggedown' or some big monster storm, but we certainly think the pattern is there this winter for some very active weather across the country," Scott said.

Some Canadians were already worrying about the forecast, even though many parts of Canada have yet to see so much as a flake of snow.

"Ruh roh weather network says tdot could have reaaally bad snow storms this winter!! Hope they're wrong," one Twitter user tweeted.

The news is not all dire, however, since Quebec and Atlantic Canada will be in for milder weather, while the wintry weather will be off to a later than average start in southern sections of Ontario.

As well, above average precipitation forecasted for southern British Columbia will make for snow-packed, powdery slopes, and many happy skiers and snow boarders.

Most of British Columbia and the Prairies will experience below normal temperatures, however, and in the North, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and southwest tip of Nunavut are expected to be in for a colder than usual stretch.

"We often see major storms in the winter, it doesn't mean that every week's going to be wild across the country, but as we get to the next few weeks, we'll really start to see winter ramping up," said Scott.

When the storms come, some will have "everything falling from the sky:" snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and rain — so experts say people should bundle up, keep their walkways clean and be aware of driving conditions.