It may not seem like it now, but the weather Central Alberta has experienced for much of November is just a taste of what is to come.
According to The Weather Network and the newly released winter forecast, Albertans can expect a cold and wet winter season.
Thanks to a developing La Nina effect, The Weather Network is predicting temperatures will be colder than normal over the course of the winter.
“We are expecting the colder temperatures we have seen through most of November to continue and get colder,” said Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist with The Weather Network.
While the winter will overall be colder than the past couple of years, Vettese says the chinooks Alberta is known for will help break up the cold.
She says the winter will not be the frigid season we saw most recently in 2013/14.
“Looking at recent years, we believe this season will most closely resemble the 2007/2008 winter. It’ll be cold but we won’t be locked in frigid temperatures,” Vettese said.
Along with the colder weather will be an increase in precipitation. This is because it is believed the region will be affected by an active storm track over the course of the season.
The storm track could bring snow, or rain depending on the chinooks.
“It’s good news for recreation, maybe not so good news for your car.”
The Weather Network is predicting much of Alberta will be effected by the cold snowy system, but says it will more prevalent the further south you go.
Areas south of Edmonton will all be part of the cold-snow zone, but in and around Calgary is expected to be a little snowier than the rest.
This year’s winter will be different from last years, which was also effected by a La Nina, though weaker than the one currently building.
Vettese calls the system building a mild La Nina, which is bringing with it colder Arctic air and an active storm system.
Last year was relatively mild compared to what this winter is expected to be.
“It just shows how the different systems can effect an area. Even a weak to a mild La Nina are quite different from each other,” said Vettese.
A La Nina is a climate pattern associated with colder than normal water surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Generally speaking, a La Nina will focus its effects in Western Canada.
Overall, it is expected the winter season will have extended periods of high impact winter weather.
Vettese recommends being prepared for the colder weather, this includes proper clothing and winter tires on vehicles.
She also recommends having an emergency kit ready and accessible in vehicles.
“A bit of blowing snow on the QEII corridor has been known to cause accidents,” she said, adding, “If you are in an accident and have to stay in your vehicle it is important to have an emergency kit ready.”
Winter will officially arrive on Dec. 21, but temperatures are expected to dip back below freezing by Dec. 1.