It is looking more like September weather out the window rather than December, and Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips says that isn’t going to change soon.
The age-old question, “Will there be a white Christmas?” seems to have an answer this year, and Phillips says no.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “It has been an El Nino kind of winter so far. You see temperatures sitting at 13 C, probably a record warm. We have had thunderstorms all over southern Ontario. I mean, come on. This is the middle of December, not Labour Day.”
The warmer temperatures are going to dip a bit this weekend, something Phillips says shouldn’t get people’s hopes up. The mercury is back on the rise just ahead of Christmas Day next Friday.
“(This week) may be the last time where we are going to get double digit values for maybe the next three or four months. This may be it, but when you look at the rest of the week, we are talking about temperatures that are seven or eight degrees higher than normal,” he said, mentioning that there may be some snow falling from the sky this weekend, but it won’t amount to much of anything. “When we get a cool-off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we are talking temperatures like -2 C for a high – those are no worse than normal. Then we might see some white stuff, but you don’t get a white Christmas with flurries. Then the problem is, all the models point to a warm up next week. We see temperatures at 3 C, 5 C and if it precipitates, it is going to be raining. There is no way we are going to see a turnaround.”
Phillips says even if Mother Nature decides to give us a bit of extra snow this holiday season, there are other factors that will keep it from sticking to the ground.
“The fact that the ground is still pretty warm, the rivers and lakes aren’t hot tubs, but they are warm, so any kind of cool air that comes in will be moderated,” he said, adding that it isn’t just the Waterloo Region that is getting less than average buildup of snow. “You take places like Moosonee and Timmins, and Timmins is one of the snowiest places in Ontario, and it doesn’t even have any snow. If you don’t get winter in the north, you can’t get it in the south.”
According to people he has spoken to, Phillips says there aren’t that many people who mind too much about the lack of shoveling and car scraping that is usually a staple around this time of year – with the exception of winter sports enthusiasts and business owners.
“It won’t be a lot of snow (this week), but it will put people in the Christmas-y mood. Retailers will be happy because it will get people out there and they will buy. They might buy a snow shovel, or some new skis for their grandkids,” he said. “For the skiers and the ski resorts, I feel bad for them because it is make or break between Christmas and New Year’s. Here, it is more about getting the golf clubs out than waxing skis.”
As for the predicted temperatures for Christmas Day in Elmira? A balmy 6 degrees C, with a low of 1 C.