Canada’s winter forecast: It’s been 20 years since meteorologists have seen a weather pattern like this


For the third year in a row, Canada's winter weather forecast is being dominated by the La Niña phenomenon, where some Canadians will see a stormy weather pattern, while others will likely be saving some money on their heating bill this winter, according to AccuWeather.

“Cold concentrated in the Prairies, mild in the East, stormy in the West,” Brett Anderson, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather told Yahoo Canada.

“We're looking at the third straight La Niña winter, it's been over 20 years since that's happened, so this is quite unusual to have three in a row like this. La Niña is the abnormal cooling of the surface water in the Pacific Ocean, along the equator, and when we have that, it alters the jet stream pattern across North America.”

AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023
AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023

Stormy weather in British Columbia, coldest temperatures in the Prairies

The main story for people in British Columbia this winter is to expect a stormy season in some areas of the province.

“Typically when we have a lot of La Niña, usually we have one main storm track coming in off the Pacific Ocean, typically directed into British Columbia, thus we usually predict above normal rain and snow across western Canada, particularly British Columbia,” Anderson explained. “Then what typically happens is the jet stream turns southward into the central United States, so that allows most of the cold air from the Arctic to dump southward through the Prairie region.”


“I think we're going to be dealing with numerous storms into the Canadian Rockies, even the coastal mountains of British Columbia. I think those areas are going to see a good amount of snowfall this winter, which is great for skiers and snowboarders… We are going with the idea of a colder winter across much of the Prairies and then the jet stream usually comes back up across the Great Lakes, and again the jet stream is typically the path where we see most of our storm.”

AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023
AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023

Ontario gets a break from the cold temperatures

Looking at Ontario and Quebec, a significant part of the area will see a notable amount of rain and snow, with a mix of mild temperatures.

“We are predicting above normal rain and snow for a good part of Ontario and northern Quebec this winter,” Anderson said. “I don't think it's a cold winter, I think temperatures are going to be above normal much of the winter.”

“You're going to still get some cold air, no question about it, but it's not going to be the type of cold where it's going to lock in for an extended period of time... There'll be opportunities for natural snow [but] with a lack of sustained cold and higher humidity, probably not a great season for snowmaking, but we're going to be more dependent on the natural snow.”

Anderson also identified that it is going to be a cloudier winter for the area.

“With the storm track nearby, the temperatures will be mostly above normal during the nighttime hours, because when you have more clouds, clouds act as a blanket, traps heat close to the ground,” Anderson said. "The nights are not going to be nearly as cold as what they typically can be during the wintertime."

"With more clouds during the day, daytime temperatures will probably be averaging closer to normal, if not a little bit above normal, but we'll see the greatest departures certainly during the nighttime hours with more clouds expected.”

AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023
AccuWeather's Canada Winter Forecast 2022-2023

Atlantic Canada should 'keep their guard' for second half of the winter season

The AccuWeather winter forecast paints a picture that looks like Canadians in Atlantic Canada will likely save some money on their heating bills this year, but that doesn't mean snow is out of the question.

“We're going above normal temperatures across much of the East for this winter, however that doesn't mean there can't be snow," Anderson said. "Through the interior maritimes, especially later in the winter, I think they'll see their opportunities, probably mostly in February and March across Atlantic Canada.”

“That type of flow pattern with the jet coming in from the southwest, that kind of cuts off most of the Arctic invasions,...that opens the door to milder intrusions across much of eastern Canada and also Atlantic Canada.”

AccuWeather is urging Canadians in Atlantic Canada to "keep their guard up" for the second half of the winter season for possible storms.