Don’t let the incredibly mild October fool you. Winter is coming and faster than many of us would like to see.
We are in the second year of a consecutive La Niña also known as a ‘double dip’. These colder-than-normal water temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean are a factor influencing weather patterns around the planet.
Here in Canada, an altered mid-latitude jet stream favors more cold and snow in the west, with above-normal rainfall around southern Ontario, but often with episodes of warmer weather.
Special Weather Statement Issued for Southern Ontario Due to Heavy Rains
It is important to note that no two La Niña are alike and other factors often influence the pattern of winter weather. This year we are seeing an early season SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) event that may be a precursor to a displaced polar vortex.
If this were to occur, it would likely be late November and December, adding to the already cold pattern we forecast around the Great Lakes. Those giant bodies of water are unusually warm for this time of year, thanks to the gentle fall and an early outbreak in the Arctic would mean significant lake-effect snow. It is something we seek.
The good news with an early start to winter is that the ski resorts will be in great shape heading into the holidays with a combination of artificial and natural snow that will make for deep powder turns.
Canada is heading into an unusually warm fall that may seem ‘more like a summer’, experts say (September 2021)
In recent years it has become common for winters to be two-sided. Extreme cold can often turn into a prolonged January thaw, which is very likely to happen again this season. Even with a warmer-than-normal second half of winter, episodes of snow and rain will be common in southern Ontario.
When making seasonal predictions, we look at previous years with conditions similar to this year. Our number one analog for next winter is 2007-08, which was also a La Niña winter. It got softer for a while, but the snow continued and accumulated to near-record levels in southern Ontario. An incredible 432 cm of snow fell that season in Ottawa, with an impressive 194 cm in Toronto.
I doubt there is a repeat in sight, but there will be no shortage of white material for all snow lovers.
How this year’s winter could look like snowy and stormy 2007-08
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