Brace for frigid temperatures, normal snowfall

Weak El Nino | Alberta can expect dramatic swings while Manitoba will be cold

Manitoba residents are in for another cold winter, according to the Weather Network.

They can blame a weak El Nino for their troubles, said meteorologist Dayna Vettese.

Many Canadians incorrectly associate El Nino with warm winters.

“That’s not necessarily true,” she said. “Strong El Ninos do typically dictate a warm winter across Canada, but what we’re dealing with is a weak El Nino.”

That typically results in cold winters for the eastern Prairies.

“We’re expecting mainly regions in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan to be dealing with below normal temperatures this winter,” said Vettese.

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“Not as harsh as we experienced last year, but certainly some below normal temperatures are in the cards.”

Near normal temperatures are expected for most of Saskatchewan and all of Alberta in the December through February period. It is only the extreme eastern portion of Sask-atchewan that will be cold.

The average temperature will be near normal in the western half of the Prairies, but there will be dramatic swings between mild and cold conditions as warm air from British Columbia dukes it out with cool air from Manitoba.

“It will be a little bit of a battleground between the above normal and below normal temperatures, especially in Alberta,” said Vettese.

“We expect quite a bit of up and down with our temperatures throughout the winter.”

The world has been teetering on the edge of an El Nino all year, but it hasn’t materialized. Vettese said the signals are getting stronger that this time it will happen.

It should result in near normal precipitation for much of the Prairie region. Calgary should receive 40 to 50 centimetres of snow, Saskatoon 45 to 55 cm and Winnipeg 60 cm.

“Nothing is screaming that it’s going to be a very wet winter,” she said.

The most active storm track will be on the East Coast. The Prairies will see the usual Alberta clippers, but they don’t deliver a lot of snow. Vettese doesn’t expect too many Colorado lows moving up into Western Canada.

Southwestern Alberta will likely receive below normal precipitation because of an area of high pressure in the atmosphere setting up over British Columbia, which will prevent weather systems from forming in the southern portion of the province.

Southwestern Alberta usually receives its winter precipitation from those B.C. storm systems.

“We don’t expect that to be a very busy track this winter,” Vettese said.

“That’s why we anticipate the be-low normal snowfall and rainfall amounts in southwest Alberta.”

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