West cold and East warmer in winter forecast

The western provinces, Far North and some other areas of the country can expect a colder-than-average winter, says Environment Canada's latest seasonal outlook.
Blue-shaded areas can expect below-seasonal temperatures over the next three months, according to a new weather outlook from Environment Canada. Areas in red can expect above-seasonal temperatures. (Environment Canada)

The western provinces, Far North and some other areas of the country can expect a colder-than-average winter, according to Environment Canada's latest seasonal outlook.

The weather office says British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the most western part of Northern Ontario and much of Labrador can expect below seasonal temperatures through December, January and February.

A child trudges down a snowy driveway as a winter storm rages near Cremona, Alta., on Jan. 9, 2011. Environment Canada forecasts that western Canada will be in for a colder than average winter this year. ((Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press))

But areas around the Great Lakes, southern Quebec and the eastern Maritimes will be above seasonal, Environmental Canada says.

"This is quite a departure from last month's outlook for the East, where most [areas were expected] to come in below seasonal for winter," says CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

"The cooler temperatures in the West can be explained by the fact that we are still in a 'La Nina' pattern," Wagstaffe says. "Cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures near South America change weather patterns around the world, including our jetstream, which tends to ride farther south in the West during this setup."

Newfoundland and Labrador, and the rest of Quebec look to have seasonal temperatures.

In October, the U.S. weather forecasting company Accuweather predicted a cold winter for B.C. and Alberta. It also blamed the influence of La Nina.

Environment Canada's three-month forecast also predicts below seasonal snowfall and/or rainfall for B.C. and the Maritimes, and above-seasonal snowfall for the lower Great Lakes.