Warmer winter lies ahead

Andrew Robinson
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Environment Canada hesitant to predict precipitation levels

Margaret Bowater Park in Corner Brook was like a winter wonderland for walkers Monday as the fresh snowfall covered the ground and trees in the area.
— Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star

Residents of Corner Brook and the surrounding area were well aware Monday the winter season is drawing closer. A heavy snowfall blanketed the area beginning Sunday evening and continued into Monday.

It will remain colder than average this week along the west coast, the Northern Peninsula and in Labrador, but Environment Canada is predicting warmer-than-normal temperatures for the province this winter.

“That’s pretty much what Environment Canada is forecasting for December, January and into February,” said meteorologist Herb Thoms.

For southern Newfoundland, Thoms said the signal for warmer-than-average temperatures is particularly strong, but he said that becomes less the case moving into the Northern Peninsula and Labrador.

“It’s not as strong for above normal, but the indications are that it won’t be below normal, so it’s looking at between near normal and above normal for Labrador,” said Thoms.

Whether precipitation over the next three months will come in at below normal, near normal or above normal amounts, Thoms said it is hard to predict one way or another at this point.


“For those three months, the signal is not very strong in either category,” Thoms said. “It’s a little difficult to say yet.”

Projections for a warmer winter fit with recent sea surface temperatures recorded off the coast of Newfoundland, where readings have come in at 2 C above normal sea temperatures.

Off the northeast coast, that reading comes in a little more than 1 C above the normal temperature and approximately 1 C for coastal Labrador.

“It was a warmer summer, because we had a lot of southerly winds, and yes indeed, that would push warmer air up,” said Thoms. “Certainly, that played some part into it.”

He added that the North Atlantic Oscillation is presently in a negative phase and predicted to remain there for the next few weeks — implying milder winter weather lies ahead.

“That can change from day to day,” said Thoms. “That’s sort of an average of the longer term.”

Environment Canada is set to update its three-month temperature and precipitation forecasts by the end of this week.



Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Northern Peninsula, Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Jack
    November 27, 2012 - 07:01

    Because the Winter 2011-2012 Seasonal Forecasts were way off nationwide last year as temperatures were well above normal nationwide, let it be a lessons never to trust "The Weather Network", Environment Canada, or other Meteorological agencies seasonal forecasts. The other problem with their forecasts is they rely too much on weather phenomenons in the Pacific like El Nino and La Nina, and not enough on other factors like the North Atlantic Oscillation or even Arctic Oscillation. The third problem with this forecast is its too "Atlantic Canadian Biased" as most of Canada will have normal or cool winter while we could get warmer winter. If the forecasts were fair and Atlantic Canadians were treated like other Canadians, we should get normal winters as well. Lessons learned, don't rely on seasonal forecasts.

  • original townie
    November 27, 2012 - 06:29

    Meteorologist have difficulty precicting NL weather from day to day. The weather forecast could change 2-3 times if you follow the weather network,,,,,sunny tomorrow, then one hr. later cloudy tomorrow, then one hr. after that light rain tomorrow. Now Mr. Thoms is predicting weather for three winter months consecutively. Need a new crystal ball Mr. Thoms, the old one never did work.