'Clear sailing' for Santa's journey
Santa's reindeer-powered sleigh — loaded with toys for girls and boys — is making its way around the world and experts predict good weather for his busy night.
NORAD confirmed that Santa, guided by Rudolph's bright red nose, soared into the Arctic sky at 6 a.m. ET, where weather was balmier than usual at –17 C with wind chill.
"Santa's going to find it a little warm up there, maybe too warm, but the winds are favourable, 16 kilometres per hour from the north," said David Phillips, a senior climatologist for Environment Canada.
Satellite images available on NORAD's website show his minute-by-minute progress. Already, Santa has visited Australia, New Zealand and countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.
In Japan, Santa Claus trackers for NORAD — the experts who have followed Santa's progress every Christmas since 1955 — calculated his sleigh travelling 100 times the speed of the famous high-speed bullet trains.
Good weather to greet Santa in Canada
On the NORAD Tracks Santa website, children can see a map of where Santa has dropped off presents and watch videos of his flight through certain cities outfitted with "Santa cams."
Santa and his reindeers will encounter a few pockets of unusual weather around the world, but nothing to deter them, weather experts say.
"It’s a huge planet.," said Phillips "And there’s always weird, wild and wacky weather. We’ve had snow in Australia. This is their dog days of summer, so that’s a bit strange. And more heavy rains in California. It’s not going to be a very merry Christmas for people there."
The gift-laden sleigh won't see any turbulence, however, when Santa hits Canadian skies.
"It looks like clear sailing," said Phillips. "And his trip across Canada is going to be pretty uneventful. If anything, I’d say it’s a weather-free zone.
"A lot of rain on the West Coast. We expect that. And there may be some stronger winds in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, but I think for most of the country, my gosh, it’s going to be clear, a few flurries here and there — but no weather to stop Santa."