Brett Anderson, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com said to Lakes District News that Northern B.C. should brace for one of the coldest and driest winters in 20 years.
Anderson said he has made the prediction based on a moderate La Niña. La Niña is a phenomenon that occurs when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and Eastern Pacific are below normal.
The phenomenon often produces extreme cold outbreaks across Western Canada during the winter, due to the influence it has on the jet stream.
“Typically the jet steam comes in from the Pacific and brings rain on the West Coast. This winter the jet stream will come from the North West to South East which allows for more arctic outbreaks in B.C. during the course of winter.”
Snowfall tends to be greater across Ontario and Quebec in a La Niña winter, while there’s almost always unusually dry winter weather along the West Coast during weak and moderate La Niñas.
“Strong La Niñas can lead to wet winters along the West coast, but I am predicting a moderate La Niña this winter,” Anderson said.
He went on to say that while there may not be a large amount of snow fall in Northern B.C. this winter, the snow that does fall will stick around longer, due to the freezing temperatures.
“Northern B.C. is looking at an extremely cold winter,” he said.
Anderson predicts that winter highs and lows will dip by as much as three to four degrees Celsius.
He said there will be more arctic air masses flowing down from the Yukon Territory blasting Northern B.C. with frigid temperatures.
“I am forecasting an overall pattern. At times it will be fairly mild but the dominant pattern will be colder than usual for Northern B.C. It will be the same for much of B.C.”
Anderson said most of the Pacific storminess will be diverted to Washington State and Northern California.
In contrast much of North Eastern Canada should expect a mild winter this year.
Anderson said the reason for this is a slow return of sea ice.
“Sea ice is at record lows this year.” He said sea ice is is getting thinner and thinner because is has been unusually warm for several years.
When there is a lack of sea ice it changes wind currents and causes high pressure blocking over North Eastern Canada, which then produces warmer than usual temperatures in those areas.