Warming trend, rain on weekend to wash away the white stuff
AMHERST, N.S. – It may be hard to believe, with Tuesday’s blast of winter weather, but chances are against a white Christmas for Nova Scotia.
SaltWire Network’s chief meteorologist Cindy Day said white and cold weather mid-week will be replaced with warmer weather and plenty of the wet (not white) stuff over the weekend.
“I'm not sure that snow is going to last,” Day told the Amherst News on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a pretty green Christmas, which is hard to believe when you look out your window today and see all that snow on the ground.”
Day, like other forecasters from Environment Canada, is predicting rain and double-digit temperatures on Saturday with up to 40 mm of rain in parts of the province. Since the snow that has fallen has not been there very long, it likely won’t survive the wet onslaught.
“It’s not like snow that has been there for a month and a half and takes a while to melt down,” Day said. “We have a warming trend coming with above freezing temperatures on Friday and double-digit temperatures on Saturday with quite a bit of rain. That’s going to go a long way toward washing away a lot of that beautiful snow.”
Day admitted she’d like to see a white Christmas, adding she’s a big fan of winter and snow, especially around the holidays.
Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said it’s looking as though it’s going to be very green on Christmas morning throughout the Maritimes. That continues a growing trend that has seen six of the last 10 Christmases be green.
For it to be a white Christmas there has to be two centimetres of snow on the ground at 8 a.m. on Dec. 25.
“Last year, you barely made it with exactly two centimetres sitting on the ground on Christmas morning, but the three Christmases before that were green,” Phillips said. “In 2013 there was more than 40 centimetres on the ground. It was one of the bigger ones. Overall it’s less than a 50 per cent chance there’ll be a white Christmas when it used to be a lot warmer.”
Phillips said it’s changing for a variety of reasons, but on the positive side he pointed out the weather will be perfect for holiday travelling with no major systems over the horizon through Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the days after.
Day said many people would say global warming is the reason behind more green than white Christmases and partially it is. However, it’s not so much temperatures are warmer, it’s the seasons have shifted a bit.
“The beginning of our snow season comes in after Christmas. So many times our first good snow, the snow that stays comes between Christmas and New Year’s” Day said. “Spring is coming later and summer is later, as is winter. It is pushed back further than what we were used to when we were younger.”
Day said the snow and bitter cold the region experienced throughout December is unusual because of more fluctuations in the weather patterns. She said climate change is affecting the weather not so much in that it’s warmer, but storms are more powerful as evidenced by the storm several weeks ago that caused widespread power outages throughout the Atlantic region.