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Slightly warmer temperatures still expected: climatologist
Weather will hinge on El Nino system, says David Phillips

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014

In terms of our long-range winter forecast, the models for the next three to four months in the NWT are still calling for slightly milder than normal or normal temperatures, according to David Phillips, the weather agency's senior climatologist.

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Yellowknifers can expect to see relatively warmer-than-usual temperatures this winter. - NNSL file photo

"October and the first half of November have been slightly milder than usual and we expect that to continue over the next few months," Phillips said. The Environment Canada models are similar to others developed by private weather forecasting services in the U.S, so I have a degree of confidence, he said.

"I am aware the Farmer's Almanac is predicting the 'T-Rex' of winters. It's based on a number of unique factors, taking into account everything from moon phases to the width of black and brown bands on a certain type of caterpillar," Phillips said. "It's produced about two years in advance, so we'll just have to wait and see."

Phillips said a lot of our weather over the next few months will hinge on the El Nino system, a large body of warmer than usual water out in the Pacific Ocean.

"What we're currently not seeing though is that warm water coupling with the air temperature," he said.

"The air is giving the water the cold shoulder so that makes things a little unique, a little trickier than usual to predict."

However, the warmer ocean water should mean that the jet stream over the NWT will dip and dive more than it did last winter, giving us stretches of milder weather. Data from Environment Canada showed that last winter was the coldest in Yellowknife in 33 years with an average temperature of -25.6 from December through March.

One of the by-products of a slightly milder winter will likely be more snow, Phillips said.

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