Atlantic Canada shut out of white Christmas, says climatologist David Phillips

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The Christmas tree at Confederation Building sparkles following the tree lighting ceremony. — Telegram file photo

TORONTO — Canadians dreaming of a white Christmas will likely get their wish, unless they live in Atlantic Canada or British Columbia.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says much of the country will be wrapped in a white blanket on Christmas morning.

“Probably the one surprise is, wow, it looks like southern Ontario, even Toronto, will see a white Christmas,” said Phillips.

“That’s not always a done deal.”

Toronto has had a 47 per cent chance of a white Christmas over the past 55 years.

Most of Toronto already has enough snow, but it won’t add any more. Daytime high temperatures will be minus 2 or 3. Sometimes snow can disappear through evaporation, Phillips noted.

“Going to be a little tricky in the Toronto area. My guess is that it will be (a white Christmas) but we’ll be counting snowflakes on Christmas morning to see if that’s going to be the case,” he said.

It could be the whitest Christmas ever in London and Sarnia, Ont.

London already has 48 centimetres while the Sarnia area was socked with 30-40 centimetres last week that stranded hundreds of motorists on Highway 402.

“They’d need a monsoon or a tropical heat wave to get rid of that,” said Phillips.

With nine centimetres on the ground and more on the way, Ottawa and Montreal are guaranteed a white Christmas. Quebec City and many parts of western and southern Quebec will be white, he said.

Snow on the ground and below normal temperatures mean the Prairies already have their white Christmas in the bag, said Phillips.

“Travelling about for last-minute shopping or visiting the in-laws or having people come in doesn’t seem to be an issue for the Prairies,” he said.

Temperatures in Manitoba should be warmer than usual but still below freezing. In Saskatchewan, temperatures are expected to be a little cooler but near normal. In Calgary, temperatures will be close to normal.

Some areas in central New Brunswick should see a white Christmas. But most of the Maritimes are snow-free and a big storm with rain and wind is coming their way, said Phillips.

There’s just no chance for a white Christmas in Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, St. John’s and Corner Brook.

“It’s unfortunate with all of this triple whammy, these three storms they’ve had in December,” Phillips said.

“You would think that nature would have at least given them a break by giving them a white Christmas.”

Vancouver won’t have a white Christmas, but there’s only been an 11 per cent chance over 55 years that the city has one anyway, said Phillips. In Victoria and along the B.C. coast, there’s little chance, he said.

But it’s a done deal up in the Arctic, Phillips quipped.

Organizations: British Columbia.Environment Canada

Geographic location: TORONTO, Sarnia, Southern Ontario London Ottawa Montreal Quebec City Southern Quebec Manitoba Saskatchewan Calgary New Brunswick Fredericton Moncton Sydney Charlottetown Corner Brook Vancouver Victoria B.C. Arctic

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