Unseasonable warmth has blanketed Alberta for the past couple weeks, but The Weather Network says a cold spell is coming.
While the winter forecast from The Weather Network was a bust on the national level, the predictions for Alberta have rang mostly true.
Meteorologist with The Weather Network, Dr. Doug Gillham, says Alberta has still seen a changeable season. Thanks to the extreme cold snap that last roughly 10 days in January, temperatures are still sitting near normal for the season.
He expects that the few stretches of cold Alberta will experience by the end of winter will not be enough to swing the average temperature to below normal.
“There is a stretch of cold weather coming,” Gillham said. “It won’t be as severe as what you experienced in January, but it will be cold enough that you will remember that it is still winter.”
Gillham says the current models say the middle to end of the month will be cold, especially when compared to the mild winter condition experienced so far.
However, the cold snap in February is likely to only last about a week.
Looking at what was predicted by the The Weather Network in the late fall and the complete shift that took place, Gillham says he doesn’t completely trust what the models say.
Because three key factors when predicting the winter forecast shifted drastically and suddenly, Gillham isn’t sure how much stock to give the models.
“The models say the cold will start roughly in the middle of the month and last through to the end. But, with how everything changed so suddenly this year, I look at that as being highly suspect.”
Alberta’s weather this winter, while on the mild side, has been mostly what was expected when The Weather Network gave their winter forecast in November.
Gillham says this is because, like predicted, Alberta sits in between two different patters, one colder and one warmer.
The difference comes from where those patterns are sitting.
“We originally though B.C. was going to be warmer, and to the east it was going to be colder, but that isn’t what happened at all,” Gillham said.
There were three key factors that did not act as expected, Gillham said.
The main one was the polar vortex over the North Pole was “much more organized” than expected.
“We thought it would slide down and settle over parts of the country, and instead it’s just sat there over the North Pole,” said Gillham.
With a more mild winter many are looking to the spring, which Gillham warns against.
“It is still winter, and we all know winter can be unpredictable and can have rebounds,” he said, adding there have been instances of a final snow storm in May.
Right now, he can’t say when spring will arrive in Alberta.
“We haven’t looked much into yet, because of who much everything changed this year. WE are just letting the dust settle right now.”
The Weather Network is planning to release its spring forecast before the end of February.
“A mild winter doesn’t show what the spring will be like with when it will come,” Gillham said.