With strong El Niño conditions that have developed in the Pacific Ocean, can British Columbians expect a mild winter? “The current El Niño event and ocean water temperatures across the Pacific Ocean are giving us a pattern that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before,” said Chris Scott, Chief Meteorologist at The Weather Network.
“Therefore, we believe the upcoming season will deliver some curveballs that will set this winter apart from typical El Niño winters. While mild temperatures should continue to dominate across western Canada, it appears to be a different story for the eastern half of Canada where winter is expected to make more than just a token appearance.”
What is El Niño?
El Niño is associated with warmer-than-normal ocean water temperatures in the tropical region of the Pacific Ocean to the west of South America. This has an impact on the global jet stream pattern.
For British Columbia, a typical El Niño is expected across the province, with mild Pacific air dominating most of the season and fewer-than-normal arctic outbreaks. A drier-than-normal winter is also expected across most of the province, though the south coast region could see below-normal snowfall and more sunshine than is typical during winter.
However, rainfall will likely end up near normal due to a few periods when the storm track will shift north into the region and bring Pineapple Express events with a risk for excessive rainfall, according to the Weather Network.
Mild weather continues in the Sea to Sky Region and a new daily maximum temperature record was set in Pemberton on January 1. The Pemberton area saw a new record of 5.4 C. The old record of 3.9 C was set in 1997 and records in this area have been kept since 1908.