We're cruising through meteorological winter, being from December to February, but are we out of the wintry woods yet?
In terms of snow, no. When you can put away your shovels and snowplows depends on where in Canada you reside. So, as many may be anticipating getting ready to hang up their snowsuits and put away their shovels, it’s time to discuss why you might be sitting with that anticipation for a while longer.
Snowfall amounts peak at different times of the year across the country as temperatures rise and specific storm tracks mature. Some places are actually too cold to have considerable amounts of snow during the heart of winter, so a warmer ambient air temperature aids in enhancing snowfall late or even early in the season.
Below is the Tweet that sparked this discussion, showcasing the snowiest months for regions across North America using data from our most recent climate period.
feat. Canada and Alaska. pic.twitter.com/pIU4KmAu1v
feat. Canada and Alaska. Brian Brettschneider on Twitter: "feat. Canada and Alaska. pic.twitter.com/pIU4KmAu1v / Twitter"
— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) Brian Brettschneider on Twitter: "feat. Canada and Alaska. pic.twitter.com/pIU4KmAu1v / Twitter"
For simplicity and brevity, we'll break this discussion down into Eastern, Western, and Northern Canada.
The Atlantic Ocean brings cold water from the Arctic down along Canada’s coast, reaching their minimum temperatures later on in the winter season. This means that the nor'easters, which those in Atlantic Canada are very familiar with, can still deliver substantial amounts of precipitation well into February. Therefore, some locations in Atlantic Canada will end up receiving peak snowfall in February, with even Cartwright, Labrador peaking in March.
Peak snowfall months for Ontario and Quebec are December and January. However, that doesn't mean February and March can't deliver significant snowfall.
The increased ice coverage during typical years reduces lake-effect snow production by reducing the amount of moisture available, resulting in snowier storm tracks pushing into New England instead.
For those reading this in Eastern Canada, keep in mind that the snow shovelling isn’t done yet as about 40 per cent of your seasonal snowfall is still awaiting delivery.
In British Columbia, generally speaking, peak snowfall accumulates in December or January. Along the coast, temperatures quickly rise in March, mitigating coastal snowfall with an onshore, Pacific flow that brings rain back to the region in time for spring.
While Victoria is counting blossoms, on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta is in an entirely different world. Many weather stations record peak snowfall amounts in March, with several stations in Saskatchewan following suit.
Calgary, which has already seen a significant amount of snowfall this season, can look forward to even more snow as nearly half of the city’s seasonal snowfall is yet to come.
While most of Canada is basking in some late-summer warmth, Northern Canada is often getting blanketed in their snowiest months – September and October. This may seem counterintuitive as many may think of the North as a cold and snowy tundra, but in actuality, it quickly becomes too cold to snow substantially north of 60 degrees latitude.
Check out the video above for more details and information about Canada's snowfall from The Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.