Cold, snowy winter forecast seen for Prairies

Harvest operations are wrapping up across Western Canada under reasonably good weather conditions for the most part.

While the bias should remain on the warm side through the autumn, the Prairies can expect to see a cold, snowy winter, according to one meteorologist.

The early indications “suggest we’ll see another winter of colder-than-usual conditions in the western Prairies,” said Drew Lerner, president of Kansas City-based World Weather Inc.

The coldest bias would be in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Manitoba looking average from a temperature standpoint.

“Manitoba will have its moments of cold, but they won’t be consistent,” he said.

Looking at snowfall, “La Nina is back, and I think we will see above-average snowfall, especially in Alberta and southern Saskatchewan,” said Lerner.

The western part of Manitoba could also see above-average snowfall, but other parts of the province, including the Interlake, are forecast to see below-average snowfall, he said.

The ground across most of Western Canada is much drier heading into the winter then it was a year ago, which will lessen the spring flood potential, said Lerner.

“Hopefully, it will be a better start to the season,” he added.

The 2012 growing season is still a long time away, but Lerner said one factor to watch was whether or not the La Nina conditions will persist going forward.

While he cautioned that there are many other unknown factors to affect the weather next year, “if La Nina sticks around for the entire growing season next year, dryness could be more of an issue in the U.S. and some of that could work its way into Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan.”

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