The warmer-than-normal weather that has been gracing Montreal and much of the east coast of North America well into the month of October will soon be leaving, getting replaced by what is predicted to be a long, cold, and white winter. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac “winter will be snowier than normal” for Montreal, with precipitation beginning in November and expected to continue well through April and into May. December, January, and February are expected to be the coldest months and the most snow will be seen in mid-December, February, and early April. The rest of April and most of May will suffer through more precipitation than normal as well, but thankfully it’s predicted to mostly be in the form of rain. Hopefully, April and May showers will bring lots of June flowers!
Compared to the relatively mild winters in the past couple of years, this year the snowstorms will be worse than normal and not just for Montreal. The stretch of cities all the way from Windsor to Montreal will suffer the same fate, including both Toronto and Ontario, even moving further west into the middle of Canada. The Prairies will be seeing dangerously low temperatures, ensuring that at least the country will suffer together.
Why all the extra snow and cold? A lot of it has to do with the ocean temperatures, especially near the equator. Despite the fact that the equator is quite far away from Canada, the ocean area is so broad that it affects a large portion of the jet streams all across the globe. During El Niño years, the waters of the western Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal and the trade winds (which normally blow from west to east towards Asia) die down. Without the winds, all that warm water comes sloshing back to the east towards North and South America. The jet stream shifts southward and intensifies, causing North America to experience El Niño, or warmer-than-normal conditions in the winter, specifically around Christmas time. On the other hand, when the trade winds pick up again, going west towards Asia, they become even stronger than normal as the cold water rises back up to the surface on the coast of South America once again, which displaces the jet stream northward. This is what causes La Niña, or cooler than normal conditions. This year is a La Niña year, which explains why the weather predictions for this winter all revolve around the words “cold” and “snow”.
The good news is that next summer is expected to be hotter than normal, to balance out the approximately six or seven-month long winter Montreal is about to plunge headfirst into. So, grab onto your hats and scarves and brace yourself, because winter is coming.
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