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El Nino will bring milder than normal winter

Next weeks daytime temperatures will be around minus one to minus two

Canadians in the Pacific Northwest will face a warmer-than-normal climatic conditions this winter.

Environment and Climate Change Canada weather-service Senior Meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau said the November and December weather forecast was better than average.

“We have a signal for warmer than normal temperature conditions for November to January. We cannot say whether it’s going to be wetter or drier. Although, there’s some indication of warmer than normal temperatures for the average overall of the three months.”

She added as we move beyond Christmas, our forecast observation indicates an El Nino winter.

“This is our first El Nino winter for Western North America, including British Columbia. Our last three winters were colder. Now, we have a flip in that weather pattern.”

Charbonneau said when we talk about El Nino conditions, we observe warmer than average sea surface temperatures in parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

However, the El Nino phenomenon measured in sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific tends to impact our winter and spring weather substantially.

“So, we do not typically see those El Nino impacts in the fall. We only see those probable conditions from January onwards and some warmer than normal conditions this fall.”

An average El Nino winter brings warmer than normal temperatures, and the effect is usually strongest after January and follows into spring. “We don’t tend to see that much in the summer or fall.”

She also said El Nino has no significant relationship for precipitation [rain and snowfall].

“They don’t really tell us whether it’s going to be drier or wetter than normal.”

Charbonneau is concerned that the dreadful effects of winter will start to kick in right after Christmas, and the most decisive impact will follow through January to early spring.

In the coming week, she said daytime temperatures will be around minus one to minus two and overnight lows around minus six.

“A little bit cooler than normal next week and expected to continue next week before things return to seasonal temperatures.”

She said seasonal conditions for this time of year are usually high, around plus two, and a low, around minus five. Beyond that, picking out any fine details about extreme events takes a lot of work.