Mild winter on the way, Environment Canada forecasts
Temperatures in the coming winter months will be 2 to 3 degrees above average, Quebec meteorologist predicts
After last year's record-breaking cold, Quebecers are in for a mild winter this year, according to Environment Canada meteorologists.
This past November, average temperatures were above average across the entire province, and in some places -- such as in the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue in western Quebec — the average temperature was more than 4 C above normal.
That's a trend that will continue this winter, according to Environment Canada meteorologist André Cantin.
"What we're expecting for winter, including January and February, are temperatures that will be above average. All of this is caused by the presence of the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, which is very intense this year," Cantin said.
El Niño changes the weather patterns all over the world, and for Canada it has a reputation for bringing milder winters.
"When we have this phenomenon in the Pacific and it's that intense, we generally record winter temperatures in Quebec that are two or three degrees above normal," Cantin said.
That's a drastic change from last winter, when plummeting temperatures in February 2015 broke records. That month went down as the coldest February on record.
Temperatures were seven or eight degrees below average in Ontario and Quebec – sometimes even 10 degrees below average.
- Record cold in February caused by arctic air carried by jet stream
- February as bitterly cold as it seemed in Quebec and Ontario
Quebecers are not the only ones expected to have a mild winter this year.
Environment Canada said much of the country will experience an above-seasonal temperature trend this winter.
Despite the unusually mild weather so far, many ski resorts in the province are declaring the ski season open.
"We could call it fall skiing," said Charles Desourdy, president of Ski Bromont. The alpine ski resort located in Bromont, Que., about 80 kilometres east of Montreal, opened for the season Wednesday.
Desourdy said so far, business is going well, but "everybody will get a bit anxious if there's no cold weather for the next two weeks."
At this point, long-range forecasts show above-zero temperatures for the next two weeks.