New Brunswickers should expect a less gruelling winter in 2015 following a series of major storms and mountains of snow last year, according to a climate expert.

Dave Phillips, a senior meteorologist at Environment Canada, says he believes New Brunswick will experience less Arctic air and more southerly and Atlantic air this winter.

That should translate to a less demanding winter.

“I’m willing to bet … on the fact that this winter will not be as long and as cold and as snowy as last year,” Phillips said.

“My sense is, we are still not cancelling winter, there will be winter but it won’t be as tough as what we had to put up with last year.”

Tree cutting near St. Stephen

The December ice storm cost NB Power approximately $12 million in damages. (Submitted by NB Power)

In December, a snow and ice storm over the holidays left, at one point, 82,000 customers without electricity, which represents nearly 25 per cent of NB Power customers.

In the spring, a storm dumped 25 centimetres of snow and ice, which smashed power poles and left 48,000 customers without electricity. 

And in July, post-tropical storm Arthur left, at its peak, 140,000 people in the dark. The outages left some people without electricity for more than a week.

Phillips’s climate observations come as NB Power is touring New Brunswick and warning homeowners to prepare for longer power outages in the future because of severe weather.

Bob Scott, the utility’s director of government relations, said this week that people should try to maintain access to phone lines during outages by making sure their cellphones are charged.

He adds they should also have 72 hours of food and water available in their homes and a flash light. As well, homeowners should have a source of back-up heat.