Good news, Canada.
You know how the last two winters have totally sucked? Who can forget the frost quakes, polar vortexes, ice storms and insane amounts of snow? Or at least, that’s probably what you’ve been dealing with if you’ve been living in the eastern half of the country.
Well this year, get ready to leave those shovels where they belong: in the garage. Our next winter is expected to be a “tremendous contrast” to those that preceded it, thanks to an extra-strong El Nino this year.
“This will be a milder winter than normal in the East,” said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips. He even went as far as to say he would “bet money” on it.
The past two years have seen Canadians suffer through the coldest back-to-back winters in 68 years, according to Phillips. So any warmer change in the weather would be welcome, but this isn’t just some slight shift in forecasting. This winter is expected to feel like a “tropical heat wave” for those in Ontario, Quebec and even the Maritimes, compared to what they’ve been dealing with recently.
“The beauty of El Nino is it has legs,” Phillips said. “It’s not going to go away.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the weather phenomenon, El Nino occurs when warm ocean waters north of Australia shift eastward toward South America, a process which messes with cloud and rain formations all over the world. As a result, weather patterns become a little easier to predict, hence the long-range forecast we’re giving you here.
To put that in perspective: It’s been almost five years since thresholds for El Nino have been reached, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
So is there any downside?
Not really, unless you’re a fan of frigid cold. Winter festivals and skiers might take a hit. El Nino is also associated with the onset of drought, but in a water-rich country like Canada, the warmer weather should be the most noticeable thing we experience. The changing weather patterns will also discourage hurricanes reaching the Maritimes as they cycle up the Atlantic seaboard.
As for those living in the west, you can expect more of the same. It looks like another warm winter for you (lucky west-coasters *grumble, grumble*).
As with all weather predictions, this one doesn’t come without its fair share of caveats. Phillips described two weather “wild cards” that could potentially leave us out in the cold: One is the onset of vanishing Arctic ice, while the other is a particularly warm blob of water in the Pacific. Both have the potential to either cancel out or strengthen El Nino.
That aside, let’s cheers to an extra-long fall!