Winter having officially landed, we can expect a white Christmas in a few days’ time.
“We come up now to the week before Christmas, it’s looking like a good thing here in your area and Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph area that looks like it’s going to be, definitely, a white Christmas. Not something you can guarantee these days,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada.
Even though there will be snow in Waterloo Region for Christmas, overall, there’s actually been less snow than normally expected at the beginning of winter.
“We’ve had less snow than we normally would get. Every month has been warmer than normal. We had one of the most gorgeous falls that people can remember. And a lot of that heat left in the lakes and the land, kind of temper temperatures that would normally be colder in December,” he explained.
But he believes the snow should stay until Christmas at least, and temperatures will be about as cold as they should be at this time of year: “Not brutally cold, not polar vortex cold, but they are cool enough to keep whatever snow falls to stay. No warm rain storms or melting temperatures to take that snow away.”
Phillips says that the weather this winter should be fairly normal, with “something for everybody.”
Phillips says a typical winter usually has about six days below minus-20 degrees Celsius. Last winter there were ten of those days. The winter before that, there were three of them. Phillips predicts this winter will be milder than last winter, but worse than the year before.
“So we always would get those cold days, but sometimes they’re more frequent than others,” he said. “My sense is that [this year] will probably be somewhere between those two winters.”
All told, there’s something of a mixed bag ahead.
“My sense is that it’s going to be more of an up and down. So people who hate winter, well, I mean, it’s not going to be a tough one. People who love winter, it will be enough days for them to enjoy what they do.
“So my recommendation would always be not to procrastinate. If the weather is decent for what you want to do, whether it be just strolling or walking in a winter’s night, or skiing or ice fishing or snowmobiling or snowboarding, well I think there will be moments like that, but you can’t delay it.
Phillips says to calculate a “normal” winter, climatologists find the average from the past 30 years.
“It’s not based on last year or the year before or something. We get 30 years of data, say 1981 to 2010 or 1991 to 2020. You average all the numbers together, and that gives you a sense of what is typical, what is normal in your area.”
As far as spring goes and maple syrup season, Phillips predicts that if this winter stays course as a fairly average winter, then there should be no surprises and spring should come along typically rather than the sudden warm-ups, which are terrible for maple syrup production, that have been experienced in the recent past.