Monday, January 30, 2023

Cold Alberta winter expected, but less severe than last

Environment Canada has released its three month outlook forecast, which is predicting a cold winter for Alberta. Meteorologist Brian Proctor says temperatures across the province could warm up a bit towards the end of next week, but cold air will quickly flow down from the Arctic and is likely to stick around.

“We are Albertans —  we’re used to winter and we are going to be experiencing some winter over the next little while,” Proctor says. He advises drivers to be sure to adjust their driving conditions to weather conditions, dress for the weather and to have an emergency kit with them when travelling.

Compared to last year, the forecast is showing some significant differences. Last year the cold came from a strong La Nina that lingered, with the cold air coming from the Arctic and cold water sitting off the B.C. coast. This year, Proctor says there is a La Nina coming again, but it is not as strong. It is expected to create colder than normal temperatures, without the severe cold experienced last year.

When it comes to precipitation over the next three months, it is a little harder to get a signature on, temperatures are more defined to look at in the long term, according to Proctor.

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“When we do look at precipitation anomalies for that period, December, January, February, our models are indicating above normal precipitation for much of Alberta and that is typically what we would expect with a La Nina that is sort of developing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more snowfall than normal,” he says.

Proctor adds he doesn’t expect to see any tremendous amounts of snow with the way the models are looking. However, these types of factors in a long-range forecast are very fluid and can vary. Individual storms, or low-pressure systems that come through, can change the precipitation models and throw the model out.

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