Nova Scotia

Maritimes got the most — and least — amount of snow this winter

The Farmers’ Almanac rarely bests the scientists at Environment Canada when it comes to weather forecasting, but they sure did this year.

Environment Canada's Dave Phillips says, 'I was doing well right up until about January 1'

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      The Farmers' Almanac rarely bests the scientists at Environment Canada when it comes to weather forecasting, but it sure did this year.

      Senior meteorologist Dave Phillips consulted the skies and computers in November and December, back when the world was green, and predicted a "little milder and more rain than snow" kind of winter for Eastern Canada.

      "You may not have to shovel and plow and push as much as you did last year," he cheerfully told CBC's Maritime Noon a few months ago. 

      He returned to the show in sackcloth and ashes Thursday to admit he was a bit off the mark.    

      "I was doing well right up until about January 1," he said. "You had your least amount of snow ever, one of your warmest November/Decembers ever.
      Horses huddle together Wednesday morning at Latigo Hill Farm, in Windsor, N.S., suffering through a winter more wild than mild. (Submitted by Jean Candy)

      "But something happened."

      Indeed it did. Phillips says very cold air squatted over Central and Eastern Canada, bringing Central Canada's coldest February on record. "We can go back to the 1800s and never see a colder one."

      Also, El Nino "just died in the water," wrecking his forecast. 

      You may not have to have to shovel and plow and push as much as you did last year …— Meteorologist Dave Phillips in happier times

      It all meant most moist systems coming up from the U.S. turned to snow, and "you're going to get these Paul Bunyan snowfalls."

      "You set records in both extremes — for the lowest snowfall totals up to the first of January, and for the most ever after the first of January," he said. "I've never seen so much snow. You don't need someone from Toronto to tell you that you've got to deal with a lot of winter."

      At least in the East.

      "People in the Maritimes are not wanting to hear this, but they haven't had a flake of snow in Victoria," Phillips added. "It really isn't fair."

      Vancouver, meanwhile, shovelled through two entire centimetres of snow this winter. 

      But the folksy Farmers' Almanac managed to forecast closer to reality.

      "It's hard for me to admit — the one forecasting service that got this right was the Farmers' Almanac. They talked about this being the T-rex of winter," Phillips said.

      "I guess you can throw a dart and hit the bull's-eye the odd time, but they had it right with no science."

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