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Victoria can expect normal winter after El Niño fails to show up

Dec 01 2012
The sun breaks through winter skies above the Juan de Fuca Strait as seen from Mount Tolmie. 

The sun breaks through winter skies above the Juan de Fuca Strait as seen from Mount Tolmie.

Photograph by: Darren Stone , Times Colonist

and most of the rest of Canada - will return to normal winter weather conditions over December, January and February, says the Weather Network.

Unlike last year, when much of Canada enjoyed unusually warm weather, conditions this winter are expected to fall more in line with seasonal norms.

Victoria can expect to see about 350 millimetres of rain and 40 millimetres of snow over the next three months, said meteorologist Gina Ressler. Daytime high temperatures should aver-age about 8 C, with night-time lows about 2 C.

"This is going to come with some up and downs, a little bit of variability," said Ressler in a telephone interview from Oakville, Ont.

"But that's normal as well."

This fall, the Pacific Ocean looked like it was setting up for an El Niño event, with more rain and warmer temperatures, she said, but that seems to have dissipated.

"Now we are back to more neutral conditions in terms of the Pacific Ocean," Ressler said. "We are still expecting a return to typical conditions over the West Coast."

The same holds true for most of Canada.

The change will likely show up as a real difference in the Peace Region of northern B.C. and the northern portions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Last year, these areas experienced unusually mild weather, with temperatures nine or 10 degrees above long-term averages.

But temperatures saw a big drop during the fall months, Ressler said. "We expect that to continue into the winter."

The exception is Atlantic Canada, which is expecting a warmer, wetter winter.

Seasonal outlooks aren't forecasts, but that doesn't mean they aren't useful, Ressler said.

A weather forecast looks at conditions and makes a prediction of what will happen. They are rarely considered accurate beyond about two weeks.

A seasonal outlook attempts to discern overall weather trends likely to occur over the coming months. They are not, however, forecasts.

"But it would be wrong to think there is no value in looking at long-term trends," Ressler said.

"When you study those and look at the different patterns, they do actually correspond or correlate to weather patterns."

rwatts@timescolonist.com

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