What Canadian farmers might expect for remaining winter weather

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

While the forecasters are calling for a slightly longer winter than most would like, most are calling for less extreme weather events for the coming months — with a drier west and wetter east expected.

“We will not have an El Niño or La Niña influencing the weather patterns for 2020, and this is the first time that this is happened in the last five years,” says James Garriss, director of research and development, Browning Media LLC.

Garriss says not having the influence of El Niño or La Niña means anticipating a drier Western North America and a wetter Eastern North America, but generally without the intensity.

For the remainder of winter, Garriss suggests thinking back to 2008, 2009, and 2010.

“With that we’re seeing an increase in precipitation, slightly colder conditions, basically east of Saskatchewan,” says Garriss. “The storm activity is not going to be as intense. So it will be snow storms where you’ll get several inches over a week, as opposed to several inches in a couple hours.”

For the west, Garriss says “starting around southwestern Saskatchewan, and into Alberta and British Columbia, we’re looking at somewhat drier conditions especially in late winter.”

As for how long to expect to see winter around, Garriss says it’ll last a little longer this year, generally, into late March/early April.

Longer Term

Looking at oceanic activity, Garriss says we’re currently seeing a cold Pacific and an Atlantic at peak heat.

“We are at the extreme of both the Pacific and Atlantic, and it is creating, for North America, the most difficult weather patterns that it can have in the 80 year cycle that these two ocean patterns can create.”

The good news, says Garriss, is that in theory, we should start seeing an ease up on extremes in five to 10 years.

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