Winter is coming, and it’s shaping up to be cold and snowy for a good chunk of Canadians.
But depending on where you live, the coldest months of the year may not be as harsh as past winters.
Accuweather released its Canadian winter forecast Monday, and it warns residents of Ontario and Quebec to brace themselves for blizzards.
The company’s senior meteorologist, Brett Anderson, told HuffPost Canada “several storms” are in the forecast for these two provinces.
“Not a real, super cold winter, but a stormy winter,” Anderson said about Central Canada
Here’s a look at the long-range weather forecast for winter in Canada this year:
Dry and mild conditions are expected on the West Coast, especially in southern regions such as Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops, B.C. The main storm track should bring rain and snow to northern parts of the province.
“We think the jet stream is going to come in off the Pacific right into northern British Columbia and then diving southward into the eastern Prairies, which allows cold air to come down through there.”
This pattern means B.C.’s Lower Mainland could see a relatively mild winter, with the chance of more sunlight than usual.
There’s nothing out of the ordinary in the forecast for the Prairies, Anderson said. Significant snow events have already been reported, but snowfall totals could be less than previous years.
The jet stream will likely bring more wind than normal to Alberta, setting the stage for more chinook events and drier conditions, particularly in the south. The southwest could avoid much of these winds. However, this means the potential is there for “dramatic swings in temperature” for Calgary and Lethbridge, Alta.
The cold air travelling through northern B.C. is forecasted to dip down through the Prairies in eastern Alberta. That doesn’t mean most Albertans are in the clear, though.
“There will certainly be some bitterly cold outbreaks, especially during the first half of the winter,” Anderson said. “It does look like a cold winter compared to several others in the past.”
The cold Arctic air could bring some unexpected storms and bouts of snow to Regina and Winnipeg. Expect “shots of cold” in the eastern Prairies, Anderson said. Towards the end of winter, more dry and mild conditions are expected in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Watch: Manitoba recently declared a state of emergency because of a massive snowfall. Story continues below.
Ontario and Quebec
Central Canada should be a great place to ski and snowmobile in the coming months, according to Accuweather. From the Greater Toronto Area to the Ottawa Valley, Canadians should brace for “significant snowfall events.”
The heart of winter will feature plenty of snow for southern Ontario and Quebec, Anderson told HuffPost. Expect much of those storms to hit in late December and through January.
The main storm track should eventually move eastward, setting the stage for less snowfall in February.
Much of the frigid cold is forecasted to stay in northwestern Ontario, which should reduce the instances of lake-effect snow in southern Ontario, Anderson said. “That may change towards February as it gets colder,” he added.
This means the lake-effect snow season could peak later than usual around the Great Lakes. But watch out for ice and sleet on the roads, especially in southern Ontario.
Montreal and Quebec City should see snowy conditions, along with the rest of the province, as moisture moves up from the southwest. But it shouldn’t be too cold this year if the Arctic air stays on its course further west. The colder conditions could come to Quebec later in the winter.
The beginning of winter should feature mild conditions in the Maritimes thanks to air flow from the southwest. Warm waters in coastal regions off the Atlantic should also help keep days less frigid than normal.
This means the Maritimes are in store for a “warmer winter compared to normal,” Anderson told HuffPost. “But it could turn stormier and a little bit colder as we get towards the end of winter as the storm track shifts in February.”
The precipitation that falls on Saint John, N.B., Halifax and St. John’s during the first half of winter could be rain or ice instead of snow.
Expect the heaviest bouts of snowfall to occur from late January to early March, Anderson said. That’s when the colder weather is forecasted to come to the region.