Technology & Science·Q & A

CBC meteorologists make spring forecasts and answer your summer weather questions

CBC meteorologists Johanna Wagstaffe, Christy Climenhaga and Jay Scotland were asked during a YouTube live about the weather, forecasting and the season ahead across Canada.

'It is possible that we can be seeing a heavy wet snow event in the next few weeks'

From left: CBC meteorologists Johanna Wagstaffe in Vancouver, Christy Climenhaga in Regina and Jay Scotland in Charlottetown were asked during a YouTube live about the weather, forecasting and the season ahead across Canada. (CBC)

The calendar says spring, but what's ahead?

CBC meteorologists Johanna Wagstaffe in Vancouver, Christy Climenhaga in Regina and Jay Scotland in Charlottetown were asked during a YouTube live about the weather, forecasting and the season ahead across Canada.

Watch the entire video below, or scroll further down for excerpts:

Q: Are we going to have a good summer?

JS: Little too early to start really digging into how the summer is shaping up. But we're really focusing on our spring season and I will say … toward the end of spring, we are going to see some warmer-than-normal temperatures heading into summer. We are looking at a pretty cool start to spring, though … that first week of April. And this will be across much of the country, certainly looking at Eastern Canada and here in Atlantic Canada.   

Q: Will it be hot like last year in Vancouver?

JW: We've had cooler-than-normal temperatures in our Pacific [Coast] partly due to that undulating jet stream … we're still under the influence of a La Nina impact, which does impact Western Canada more. This is where cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific changes the jet streams and patterns all over the world. So we've got a lingering La Nina, which means cooler for us in the West Coast; cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures; and we've got a heavier snowpack. So that likely means it going to take a little longer overall for our spring to show up.

People are seen at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, in July 2017. Johanna Wagstaffe says it's going to take a little longer overall for spring to show up in Vancouver, which means it likely won't be as hot as it was last year. (Ken Leedham/CBC)

Q: With so much snow, how serious is the threat of flooding this spring in Alberta and Saskatchewan?

CC: You talk about a lot of snow, and we did get that, but we got it really late …. Most of the winter [from December through February] was pretty dry. We're really, really depleting that ground moisture. And then you take the step into March, and things just really change. We saw heavy, heavy precipitation into southern and central Saskatchewan and parts of southern Alberta … well above normal levels of precipitation for about the last 25 days. So things have changed quite a bit. Does this mean we're going to see a lot of flooding? It looks like despite the snow, unless we get a really fast melt and see a lot of that water running off in the cities, it isn't going to be a huge, huge threat.

Q: Any more big snow?

CC: We're probably going to get a little more snow in our neck of the woods. I did mention Calgary getting a little bit of snow, probably toward the end of the week. In some areas, you could see 10 plus centimetres. Little bit further toward the east and through the central Prairies and into Manitoba, it might be a little bit drier …. We're going to be falling into that lovely Arctic high pressure that makes it so nice and cold but sunny. So we might see a few flurries, especially into next week, but as for the next little while it will be pretty dry.

There was snow in Charlottetown on Thursday. Jay Scotland says more in the region is still possible but less and less likely the further we get into April. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

JS: As we get into April, it becomes less and less likely, and it's less likely the snow will stick around all that long. We do have temperatures in the Atlantic that are much warmer than usual, but something you have to consider with temperatures that are warmer than normal — those sea surface temperatures —  is the warmer the water is, the more water vapour is in the atmosphere and the more precipitation these storms can produce. So yes, it is possible that we can be seeing a heavy wet snow event in the next few weeks, but the longer we get into April the less and less likely …. It certainly, historically, would not be that odd of an occurrence to see a snow storm in April here on the island.

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