Tuesday, 20 December 2011 13:39

Winter’s coming, but it’s apparently not in a hurry

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By Susan Quinlan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One can’t help but notice the heavy snow boots still parked in the corner of the closet, as the heart of winter approaches, but grass can still be seen throughout most of southern Alberta. Not to worry though, apparently father winter hasn’t forgotten us.

“It’s a La Nina year. Winter tends to be slow to come to Canada,” but nonetheless, it’s on its way, said Environment Canada’s Senior Climatologist David Phillips.

As part of the trend that exists during a La Nina year, December has not been as cold as expected, said Phillips.

“December has been mild, and by that I mean one or two degrees warmer than thought. It’s not clear that it’s going to drop off dramatically.”

Phillips said through to Christmas Day, the national weather models he’s examined depict temperatures somewhat warmer than normal. American models as well predict that same trend.

“Overall, December will be milder than normal by a degree or a degree and a half.”

However, weather models for January through March depict colder than normal temperatures, but normal amounts of precipitation, added Phillips.

Of course, in southern Alberta there’s the effect of the Chinook, said Phillips, which creates a “yoyo effect.”

“That’ll be the flavour of the winter (in southern Alberta), but with a few more cold days than normal.

“We said the winter will be colder than normal and we’re holding with that. We’ve got a more back and forth situation for December, but come January to March, La Nina will rule the day and it will be colder than normal.”

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