Shoveling, plowing and pushing in Alberta not over yet, says climatologist

Don't pack the snow shovel away just yet as there is likely more snow to come for southern Alberta, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada is warning.

"After March 1, Calgary gets about 40 per cent of its annual snowfall, 54 centimetres of snow," David Phillips told Daybreak Alberta this week.

"The shoveling, plowing and pushing is not over yet."

Phillips says the province has been a mixed bag of weather so far this year.

"We certainly see northern Alberta has had a milder [winter] and less snow than normal," he said.

"In the south, you have had some chinooks but when you look at the temperatures, they have been actually slightly cooler than normal this winter and snowfall totals have been a little bit up," he said.

"Certainly different than what we saw last winter, which was, winter was cancelled."

In contrast to last year's devastating wildfire in the north, this year is looking fairly good, he added.

"I have got some good news for people in Fort McMurray," Phillips said.

"We look at the conditions this year, compared to this time last year, very different. The temperatures have been about more than one degree colder than normal up until the end of February and more important, about 71 per cent more precipitation," he said.

"There are 16 centimetres of snow sitting on the ground, there was nothing at this time last year. There is some good news even though it might seem more winter-like."

Across the country, it's been a unique winter weather story, he said.

"It has been strange. I have been following the weather for 50 years and this is clearly one of the wackiest and wonkiest," Phillips said.

"Who would have thought in Victoria and Vancouver, they have had their coldest in 25 years and more snow this winter than they have had in the previous five winters together? We saw on the East Coast some heavy amounts of snow. In Halifax, I think it's the second snowiest winter on record."

Farmers in southern Alberta, however, may be in better shape this year, he said.

"Sometimes that snow in March and April can be a lot heavier because it is more moist. It is good for agriculture because it provides a good shot of moisture to the top layers of the soil."

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