Winter is coming, but it won’t be brutal: climatologist

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With winter’s icy grip taking hold of much of the country this week, many Canadians are asking if we’ll be in for a doozy this season. But David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, believes that we won’t be experiencing anything too abnormal.

“We still are waiting a couple weeks before we issue our winter forecast, but the early look… [suggests]we’re going to be colder than last year,” Phillips told CTV News Channel on Friday. “I don’t think it necessarily will be colder than normal, but it’s… certainly going to feel more like winter and we’ll have more consistency.”

This week, a blast of Arctic air saw numbing temperatures set 28 records in British Columbia and 14 in the Prairies. On Thursday, Regina experienced a bitter minus 28 degrees Celsius — the coldest Nov. 9 in the city since records began to be collected in 1884. In Ottawa, temperatures even plummeted a staggering 19 degrees, from a comfortable seven degrees Celsius to a chilly minus 13 by the day’s end.

“We just came through one of the warmest September, Octobers on record… so it’s almost like a slap in the face,” Phillips said. “We’ve already seen this kind of weather that you get in the dead of winter — January, February — and here it’s occurring in the first half of [November].”

Last year, much of the country experienced an unusually mild winter — something that won’t be repeated this season, despite our “early start to winter-like weather,” Phillips said.

“People are thinking, ‘Uh-oh, is this the pattern, the personality of the coming winter?’” Phillips said.

“No, this is just a little bit of a teaser, a little heads up to say, ‘Hey get your snow tires on and think about winter.’”

Those who love winter won’t be disappointed, Phillips added. And those who’d rather hibernate and wait for spring won’t suffer too much either.

“There will be something for everybody,” Phillips said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a brutal one, like with a lot of polar vortices and that… I think we’ll be able to handle anything that Mother Nature throws our way.”

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