Environment Canada is calling for a milder than normal winter for southern Manitoba.
Winter begins December 1st and ends February 28th for Environment Canada. Yet, David Phillips says this first week will feel nothing like winter.
"Where is it," he asks. "You are sending out people looking for winter."
With the normal daytime high for the first week of December being around -6 degrees in southern Manitoba, Phillips says we could see temperatures that are nine degrees warmer than that by the weekend.
But, just because December is expected to be warmer than normal, Phillips says everything is relative to the month you are talking about. He notes on average, December is about eight degrees colder than the month of November. And, with this last November ending up being 1.5 degrees warmer than normal, Phillips says December could end up being considerably colder than November, yet still be warmer than normal.
As for precipitation, Phillips says that is always difficult to forecast long-range. However, taking it one month at a time, he is forecasting December to have near-normal precipitation.
All of this is happening during a La Nina winter. However, Phillips says the characteristics of a La Nina winter are not as black and white as they once were. He notes from 1950 thru 1980, there were 19 winters with a La Nina. Of those, 16 winters were colder than normal, and three saw above normal temperatures. By comparison, over the last 30 years, there have been 10 La Nina winters. Of those, only six have been colder than normal, while the other four saw above normal temperatures.
"So, it's not a guarantee anymore, it's not a sure thing that La Nina will bring you a long, cold kind of traditional classic winter," he says. "And that may very well be the situation this year."
But, just because the next three months are supposed to be milder than normal, Phillips says that does not mean we will pay for it come March.
"That's the Canadian, puritan, theological, meteorology that exists," he laughs. "We feel almost as if we can't brag about it or boast about it because we think mother nature will get us in the end."
He says in Newfoundland there is a theory that if you get three good days in a row, you should hide under your bed because the wicked weather is just around the corner.
"I would say that if you're enjoying the weather now, don't feel guilty, don't think that it's going to come back and get you," he suggests.
On the contrary, just because this winter on average is supposed to be milder than normal, Phillips says that does not mean the polar vortex will not come down and bite us for at least a few days