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El Niño to bring warm, dry winter, forecasters say

Despite current chilly temperatures, a mild fall and warm winter is in the forecast for northeastern B.C., forecasters say. Additionally, it will be a drier winter than normal, with precipitation expected to be below average levels.
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Fall temperatures are expected to be above normal across Western Canada, with eastern provinces to see cooler, unsettled weather patterns.

Despite current chilly temperatures, a mild fall and warm winter is in the forecast for northeastern B.C., forecasters say.

Additionally, it will be a drier winter than normal, with precipitation expected to be below average levels.

“This pattern that we’ve been stuck in, it seems like for the last year, is actually going to continue into the winter, so we do expect a milder than normal winter and a drier than normal winter for pretty much all of British Columbia, including the northeast section,” said Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist with The Weather Network.

One concern, however, is that rainfall has been lacking, and low precipitation levels are expected to continue across Western Canada.

“It doesn’t look like the best conditions for agriculture, but when it comes to driving, commuting, travel, it looks like good weather,” she said.

The forecasted warm, dry conditions have to do with the El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.

“There are lots of strengthened storms in the Pacific, and weakened storms in the Atlantic . . . we’ve seen quite a few typhoons impacting Taiwan and Japan, and those areas,” Vattese said.

In western North America, that causes warm, dry weather, exemplified by the persistent drought conditions in California, and the dry conditions causing severe wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

The strengthening El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean are on track to be one of the top three strongest events since 1950. According to Vattese, the top two spot holders for strongest El Nino conditions were in 1982-83 and 1997-98.

On the flip side, the northern tier of the country into Newfoundland is experiencing cooler, unsettled patterns. The central provinces can expect near to normal weather conditions.

“Fall is a transition season where we typically see a rollercoaster of temperatures as we descend towards winter. This year, Canadians should expect more prolonged periods than usual in which temperatures are either above or below normal,” said Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at The Weather Network, in a press release.

“Above seasonal temperatures will dominate central and eastern parts of the country in September, but a switch will flip sometime in October, bringing cold temperatures and a false start to winter.

“By contrast, Western Canada will hold onto milder weather longer into the fall, resulting in above normal temperatures for the season as a whole,” he said.

While the northeast is currently experiencing a reprieve, with cold conditions across B.C. and Alberta, temperatures will warm again once the storm system moves out.

That doesn’t mean every day is going to be warm and dry, however. There will be occasional breakdowns in the pattern, where there will be cold and wetter conditions.

peacereporter@ahnfsj.ca