Weather Network forecasting periods of strong winter weather followed by some milder spells

Diane Crocker
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Beth Skeard, front, and Taylor Butt, both 10, enjoy an afternoon slide in Margaret Bowater Park Tuesday.

CORNER BROOK  Winter enthusiasts don’t have to worry about there not being enough snow on the ground to enjoy their various activities over the next three months.

“The problem will be keeping it around,” said Doug Gillham, a meteorologist with The Weather Network.

The network released its winter outlook on Tuesday and predicts near normal temperatures and precipitation for the west coast of the province.

“Overall it looks like a fairly non-description winter,” said Gillham, “but we really don’t think the winter will be non-descript.

“There will be periods of pretty strong winter weather and then there’ll be times where you’ll kind of wonder where winter has gone,” he said.

“We think there will be periods of time where we’ll lock into a pattern for a few weeks, two to three weeks, and then see a flip in that pattern.”

That will most likely be the experience of the next few days.

From a weekend of snow and colder temperatures, things will take a turn today as a major storm system for Atlantic Canada causes a temporary warmup into Thursday.

Gillham said the system is a warm and wet Colorado low and the type of storm system this region can expect to see more of this winter.

Temperatures are expected to rise to the double digits briefly and along with that the system will bring significant rain and wind.

Thirty to 50 millimetres of rain is expected to fall in the Corner Brook area with more predicted for the southwest coast.

Winds in this area will be sustained at 50 kilometres/hour with gusts between 80 and 100 km/h closer to the coast.

Gillham noted the Wreckhouse is already under a wind warning for gusts up to 140 km/h.

With strong wind gusts and higher than normal temperatures, Gillham said most, if not all, of the current snowpack could be washed away with the storm.

“This is just a brief warmup, but it can do a lot of damage to your snowpack in a short period of time.”

By Friday, Gillham said things should be back to near seasonal to below seasonal temperatures and that should continue for the next one to two weeks.

He also said there are no major storm systems in the forecast.

“But with the cold air coming in behind that, we would expect the sea effects, snow showers, to return.”

That gives the potential to pick up a few centimetres each day.

Throughout the winter, Gillham said near normal temperatures for this region range from an average high of zero C in December to -2 or -3 in January and -3 in February.

While the forecast for this area is at near normal, St. John’s and the eastern part of the province are expected to see above normal temperatures this winter.

Gillham said conditions in the east could affect temperatures in the west and actually put the temperature here more above seasonal than near normal.

Precipitation levels are also expected to be near normal for this area, but Gillham said snowfall is a challenge to predict as a couple of good storms can skew the figure for the winter.

“There’s no clear signal saying strongly that it’s going to be a snowy or less than snowy winter.”

Instead, he said things look normal.

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Colorado, Corner Brook

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