Canadian winter will 'feel tougher' this time around

The usual Canadian winter will return after record-high temperatures last year, but there will be slightly above-normal temperatures in the eastern half of the country, Environment Canada predicts in its seasonal outlook.

Normal chilly temperatures to return, with the East milder than the West

Normal seasonal temperatures for much of the country are shown in this winter's Environment Canada forecast map, except for the coloured areas: blue for below-normal temperatures and red for above-normal. (CBC)

Canadians preparing for chillier weather, or already in the thick of it, should not expect a repeat of last winter — what many were calling the winter that wasn't.

"It will feel tougher, but it won't be the winter of our youth," David Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist, said about the agency's seasonal outlook for December to February.

Those in the eastern half of the country can look forward to slightly above-normal temperatures, particularly this month, but it will still be colder than it was over the same period last winter.

Ontario and eastward will be milder because of warmer bodies of water influencing temperatures.

People in the western half of Canada can also expect cooler conditions compared to last winter, with temperatures close to normal levels. Below-normal temperatures are in the forecast for northern Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Most Canadians should notice a shift from last winter.

"Environment Canada is pegging precipitation amounts at around normal, but considering last year and the lack of winter that we saw, it will feel much cooler," CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said.

"There were several things about last year that were quite remarkable nationally," Phillips said.

Overall in Canada, it was the third warmest winter in 65 years of record-keeping and the second driest, he said.

"Last year was quite remarkable, nationally."

Wintry conditions have already hit parts of the West, even though the season doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21.

Phillips said that over three weeks in November, Saskatchewan already had more snow than all of last winter. Similar conditions have hit the Calgary region.