What Happened to Our Winter Wonderland?

December in Canada was marked by unusual weather patterns, including wildly fluctuating temperatures, unseasonal warmth, and varying snow levels.

Highlights of the month’s weather anomalies include:

  • Over ten million square kilometers of Canada experienced temperatures above the normal range.
  • In some areas, temperatures were over 10 degrees higher than usual, setting new records for December warmth.
  • British Columbia cities like Victoria, Comox, and Vancouver had their warmest December on record, with Vancouver’s mean temperature exceeding 7°C.
  • Record-breaking warmth was also noted in the Prairies, with cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Kindersley, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton, Churchill, and The Pas experiencing their warmest December ever.
  • Edmonton, which did not rise above freezing last December, saw 25 days above freezing this year.
  • Saskatoon’s coldest days this year were warmer than last December’s mildest days.
  • Ontario experienced a remarkably mild December, with Hamilton, London, Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, and Welland recording their second-warmest December.
  • Kenora in northwestern Ontario had its mildest December by a 3°C margin.
  • Montreal recorded its third-warmest December.
  • Southern Ontario’s only warmer December occurred during the strong El Niño of 2015.
  • Many areas in Atlantic Canada had one of their top-10 warmest Decembers, with some New Brunswick stations experiencing their top-5 warmest.
  • Hay River and Yellowknife in Northern Canada documented their second-mildest Decembers.
  • Kamloops, B.C., received only 1.4 cm of snow, making it the second least snowy December there.
  • The Pas experienced its driest December on record with just 0.6 mm of precipitation.
  • Hamilton saw its second least snowy December, with a mere 3.8 cm of snowfall.
  • Toronto’s airport recorded its sixth-rainiest December with over 69 mm of rain, while Ottawa had its fourth-rainiest with 73.3 mm.
  • Montreal had its second-wettest December on record.
  • Gaspé, Quebec, saw its least snowy December ever.
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, airport recorded its driest December since records began in 1942, with only 51 mm of precipitation.

Looking ahead to January, colder temperatures are expected in the Prairies, likely the coldest so far this season. British Columbia will also experience a drop in temperatures. However, warmer than usual conditions are expected to persist in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

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