Environment Canada predicting mild Interior winter, but level of snowfall uncertain | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Environment Canada predicting mild Interior winter, but level of snowfall uncertain

Weather models indicate Kamloops and the Okanagan are in for a milder winter, but all bets are off when it comes to predicting whether that will mean less snow for the region.
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November 06, 2018 - 1:10 PM

PENTICTON - Weather forecasters say the odds are better than even we’ll have a milder than normal winter because of El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean, but don’t bet on less snow.

Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald says forecasters see an El Niño developing, but the very specific parameters for the condition have yet to be met.

“Basically, we need five overlapping three month periods of temperature anomalies in the Pacific Ocean to be at least half a degree warmer than normal,” he says, adding meteorologists are looking at a current warming trend in the Pacific Ocean, with climate models agreeing that an El Niño will develop this winter.

While that usually means warmer and slightly wetter conditions through the winter, MacDonald says the intensity of the event is an important factor.

He says the last two El Niños in 2014-15 and 2015-16 were strong, but winter's is expected to be weaker.

“It stacks the cards in favour of a wetter, milder winter, but confidence in the seasonal forecast is much less than when dealing with a strong El Niño,” MacDonald says.

“I always try to caution people when it comes to seasonal forecast. It’s common to believe when we say 'warmer' it means we’re not going to get any snow, but all it means is when we get to April and look back on the winter that was, the average temperature may have been 0.3 or 0.5 degrees warmer than normal.

"There’s just no way of telling how much snow we’re going to get this winter."

By the way, snow is in the forecast for Kamloops and the Okanagan Thursday night, Nov. 8.

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