Frozen fear as winter nears
It’s always a tough call on how much wardrobe preparation you’ll need for winter.
Several weather agencies have made their predictions for what the Kamloops region can expect this winter, but they almost always differ in some way.
The most recent forecast from AccuWeather is calling for the coldest winter in B.C. in 20 years.
That prediction is in part based on a second straight winter La Nina weather pattern.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for temperatures in the north to be below average, while the southern portion of the province is expected to be warmer than normal.
Jim Steele, Environment Canada’s Kamloops-based meteorologist, questioned the science and accuracy of the forecast put forward by AccuWeather.
“I think it would be dubious at best,” he told KTW.
Steele said AccuWeather is tying its prediction to a La Nina system, but explained there is no distinct link between colder weather and the winter phenomenon.
Instead, Steele said, the temperatures are more dependent on wind patterns and the jet stream from the north.
La Nina is an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon, the counterpart of El Nino.
La Nina results in lower-than normal sea-surface temperatures; El Nino sees higher-than-normal sea-surface temperatures.
For its part, Environment Canada is predicting below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation for the Kamloops region in December, January and February.
The agency is also predicting a La Nina system, but is instead calling for a milder version of the weather pattern.
Steele noted the effects of a La Nina don’t generally start to show themselves until January and last into spring.
It was a similar story last winter, when the weather pattern hovered around Kamloops until almost summer.
In the end, predicting the weather is much like a horoscope, Steele said, adding many long-range forecasts ultimately turn out to be wrong.
The meteorologist said it’s probably safe to go buy that ski pass you’ve been thinking about, but it isn’t likely necessary to stock up the closet with winter boots.
Interestingly, the Weather Network’s fall forecast is calling for conditions to be about normal, with a slow transition to winter.