Expect a white Christmas this year

It will be a white Christmas, with cooler weather sticking around for the holidays, according to weather experts.

Arne Petryshen

It will be a white Christmas, with cooler weather sticking around for the holidays, according to weather experts.

In terms of weather, Lisa Caldwell, Environment Canada meteorologist, said November was not truly a remarkable month.

The mean temperature for that month was -2.4 degrees celsius, which is not far off the normal of -1.28 degrees celsius.

“So slightly below normal,” she said. “It didn’t rank in really any rankings.”

Precipitation for the month came out to 34.9 mm. Normal is 35.3 mm.

“So almost bang on normal for precipitation,” she said.

“One thing about November, is if you remember at the end of the month we had that  period of really cold and dry and sunny,” she said, adding it was a kind of pre-winter temperature dip. The coldest temperature happened on Nov. 27, when it dropped to -22.2 degrees celsius.

“Then December comes along, and the whole weather pattern switched around once again, and we had two and a half weeks of mainly South Westerly (from the south west) flow off the Pacific — storm after storm — lots of warm air flooding into the Interior and all the way across to the Alberta/B.C. Border.”

Temperatures were relatively warm and there was some precipitation, she noted.

Notably, on Dec. 9 there was 14 mm of rain that fell.

“Which is, in December, a lot of rain,” she said.

For the last little while, the South Westerly flow has switched to a North Westerly flow.

“That is sort of a more normal direction for this time of the year and generally there’s a slow cool down and we’re seeing more snow,” she said. “Temperatures are cooler now and it’s looking like it’s going to stay that way, all the way through until the end of the year.”

So that mean the snow that is on the ground won’t melt away, making this a white Christmas, she added.

The weather systems from the north west originate in the Gulf of Alaska on the Pacific ocean and then travels down the coast, through the Central Interior and towards the south eastern portion of the province.

“When they are coming in that direction, the systems are colder and they don’t have as much moisture,” she said.

Caldwell noted the surface wind that we feel on the ground may not be from the north west.

“Especially in Cranbrook, because of the way your valley is oriented — you’re either going to get a north wind or a south wind, you’re not really going to get any other direction,” she said. “So you may not see any wind.”

Caldwell also provided an update on the big blob of warm water off the coast of B.C. that was causing the hot weather systems to stay over the region in the summer, and limiting the cold weather in the winter — it’s gone.

“The Pacific blob broke up and it’s not a player anymore,” she said. “That was expected. It broke up because of all the systems that were moving in starting in September. Every Pacific system that came in stirred up the water.”

She added it was all stirred up like when you’re stirring up a cup of coffee.

On the other hand, El Niño is still a player.

“It’s still a major oceanographic feature right along the equator,” she said, but noted it doesn’t usually take effect in Western Canada until later into the winter. They aren’t expecting to see effects of El Niño until later in January or February.

“We are expecting things to become warmer than normal over the winter,” she said. “So far winter’s been pretty normal.”