The AccuWeather Winter Forecast has predicted that Alberta will experience a windier, dryer, and warmer winter than usual this year.
“Generally, slightly dryer and slightly warmer conditions for much of the province, especially in the Calgary area,” said AccuWeather Canadian Weather Expert Brett Anderson.
“The winter is going to be fairly windy, meaning more chinook winds than usual,” he added. “It’s a fairly windy winter. When it gets windy here, that usually means it gets briefly warm as well.”
Although Albertans will also experience slightly above average temperatures across the western half of the province, mid-winter the temperature will be closer to normal further east.
“The main storm track is going to be more north than usual during the bulk of this winter, which means most of the arctic air will be directed up and around Alberta where we think most of the coldest shots of air will be coming down through the central prairies,” Anderson said.
The storm system tracking further north will result in dryer conditions through the mountains and western parts of the province.
Anderson added the increased chinooks depends on the direction the winds move from.
The winds around a storm system move counter clock-wise, and if the storm tracks to the south of Calgary, the winds are coming in from the east.
“That’s typically a colder and windy situation,” Anderson said.
If the storm is tracking more to the north, the wind will be coming in from the west and down off of the mountains and cause a chinook.
“With more storms tracking up to our north this year, that increases the risk of more chinook type winds. Those western winds that rush down off of the mountains are warming winds,” Anderson said.
Adding, “We have dramatic temperature increases when we have the chinook winds, especially across the southwestern parts of Alberta.”
The AccuWeather Winter Forecast also predicted a below-average snowfall this winter.
“The normal snowfall per season in Calgary is about 130 cm,” Anderson said.
“We got off to a fairly early start with snowfall. Based on the forecast, we’ll have roughly 110 cm to 120 cm, just slightly below normal,” he said.
Despite the warm winter with below-average snowfall, the AccuWeather Winter Forecast is predicting a decent ski season.
“The season got off to an early start. Weather conditions, in general, will be favourable for skiing during a good part of the winter,” Anderson said.
Although the core of the cold this winter will be directed towards the east, Alberta will still experience cold blasts.
“The core of the cold shots that we envision will be directed more to the east. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to get some cold blasts, we certainly are, but the majority of them will be directed to the east,” Anderson said.
“However, there will certainly be some bitterly cold outbreaks, especially during the first half of the winter,” he added.
Based on the forecast, there is a possibility of a reduced risk of significant spring flooding. However, it is too early to predict accurately.
“That can easily change, but based on the forecast we have, that’s what it looks like right now, but it’s really early for that,” Anderson said.