There's been a shift in the weather pattern for this season, which so far has brought about little snow the past few months. Given our region’s unusual weather, many are bracing themselves and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is there a chance we’ll make it through winter with above-seasonal weather conditions, or are we going to pay dearly towards the end?
So far, it’s been an unpredictable winter as on the day’s meteorologists call for heavy snow, the clouds clear up, and the winter storm dissipates altogether, or it turns out to be just a light dusting. Most areas in our region currently have approximately one inch of snow cover, with many spots still bare. For those who anticipate winter and its activities, this one isn’t turning out to be so favourable. While you can always go tobogganing over the snow and grass, it's more challenging to go skiing without having fired up the snow-making machines beforehand. Many snowmobile clubs have also indicated on their social media sites; the conditions are not ideal as there’s not enough snow. At the other end of the scale are those who do not like snow and cold weather. For those people, this makes for an ideal winter as you don’t have to bundle up in layers of clothing to go outside. It’s made for perfect days to go for walks or get outdoors for family activities without the fear of frostbite in the first five minutes.
Many swear by the Farmer’s Almanac and use it faithfully. The book states, “they stand by mathematical and astronomical formulas for accurately predicting weather up to two years in advance.” According to the book, 2020/21 winter is full of winter storms and to brace for continual snowfall throughout the season. Alberta will experience above-normal snowfall and much colder weather than average winter temperatures. So far, it's been the opposite, but we can't say the book is wrong as winter is not over yet. In February, the almanac still predicts to have a total snowfall accumulation of 45 millimetres. So, don't put those winter boots too far back in the closet just yet.
Accuweather also has its predictions for our region in Alberta. They're not forecasting a bitterly cold winter, but it will be a windy one for January and the first half of February. January shows only three days with a slight chance for flurries. Due to the mild winter. February might make up for what’s been lacking in previous months. Both the Farmer’s Almanac and Accuweather are predicting heavy snowfall this month. The only difference is how much. The Accuweather website’s long-range forecast shows a total snow accumulation of 220 millimetres in February. In the latter part of the month, it begins to warm up again and going into March shows an average of three degrees.
To sum it up, I’m sure this winter will still bring a mixed bag of weather suitable for everyone whether you like snow or not. In six weeks, we will be well on our way to Spring conditions, and the winter season will once again be behind us.
Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press