Is there a 'snow drought' in Halifax? Yes! City breaks 65-year snowfall record

This winter has seen the least amount of snow on record, but last year almost broke a record for the most.

This winter has seen the least amount of snow on record, but last year almost broke a record for the most

On Wednesday, Halifax broke a record for the least amount of snowfall in early winter since 1953. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

A senior climatologist with Environment Canada suspects many people in the Halifax area are eyeing their expensive new snowblowers with contempt.

That's because a year after one of the worst winters for snowfall on record, Halifax's measly 18 centimetres so far this winter are breaking records in the other direction. 

There hasn't been this little snow in the same early winter period since Environment Canada started recording amounts near the airport in 1953. Compare that with 2016-17 — which had the second highest snowfall in the same period, with 159 centimetres — and David Phillips said we've got some "weather weirdness" on our hands.

"It's been almost as if it's missing in action. It's … like a snow drought that you're going through," said Phillips. 

Remember this? The winter of 2016-17 brought more than 400 centimetres of snow to the Halifax area, including 159 centimetres during the period up to early January. (Nancy Waugh/CBC)

Halifax broke the previous record for lowest snowfall on Wednesday.

So far, the snowfall is well below the Halifax average for November to early January, which is about 81 centimetres.

The most amount of snow in that period was 192 centimetres in 1970-71.

Same amount of snow days

What's more strange, said Phillips, is that it has snowed the same amount of days as the same period last year — 19.

He said temperatures don't have that much to do with the lack of snow because it's been colder than average for this time of year. 

Phillips blames the path of major storms, such as the one last week and on Christmas Day, that have just missed the city. They're tracking up the U.S. and through the Bay of Fundy toward New Brunswick, and the Halifax area is on the warmer side.

"One degree can make a whole difference between whether you're going to get buried in snow or it's just another soppy, wet day," he said.

In other words: "It's teasing you," said Phillips. "It's striking fear in your hearts that you're going to be buried, and then all of a sudden pulls away and you're left with the liquid stuff."

Will this continue?

The rest of Nova Scotia and the Maritimes hasn't been so lucky this winter. 

Greenwood, for example, has seen as much as 50 centimetres this month already, said Phillips, and during the storm on Jan. 4 and 5, some areas of New Brunswick were walloped with 56 centimetres.

But whether you love this green winter or hate it, Phillips said don't get used to it. 

The 'weather bomb' brought destruction to places like Conrad Road at Queensland Beach, but not much snow. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

We're not even halfway through winter in the Maritimes, he said. Typically, the most snow falls in December, January and February.

"So my advice is don't feel too smug about it. Don't feel that this pattern or record is going to continue," he said. 

"The thing could turn on you. Sometimes nature could forget — 'Oh my gosh, I've forgotten winter in Halifax' — and then all of a sudden tries to make up for it."