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Winter forecast: What La Niña means for the Lower Mainland

Last Updated Oct 16, 2020 at 5:10 pm PDT

Summary

NEWS 1130 Meteorologists Michael Kuss and Russ Lacate discuss what La Niña means for winter in the Lower Mainland

While it could mean more cold weather, it might not necessarily mean more snow

'For the skiiers amongst us, for the winter outdoor activty lovers we'll keep our fingers crossed,' Kuss says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — There could be some good news for the upcoming ski season.

NEWS 1130 Meteorologists Michael Kuss and Russ Lacate are taking a look at the winter forecast for the Lower Mainland.

Lacate says there is a pronounced La Niña pattern developing.

“Basically, the surface water temperatures over the eastern pacific, so along the coastline of South America, they’re not quite as warm as they typically are. That warmer water is being built up closer to Indonesia and it alters the overall flow of the atmospheric pattern at higher latitudes into the Gulf of Alaska,” he explains.

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“So La Niña here usually means slightly weaker winter systems in the Gulf of Alaska, so they don’t push back the cold air, you end up with a really deep layer of cold air building in Alaska, Yukon, Western Canada and it opens the door for more of that cold air on the coastline here.”

Lacate says this means more cold episodes, and while it doesn’t necessaily mean more snow, “if you combine the timing of those weather systems with colder outbreaks, it’s a pretty good bet that we’re going to have a little more snow here that we’re typically seeing.”

Kuss says it is likely there will be more precipitation, not necessary on an event-by-event basis, but as a whole with cooler temperatures for the entire province.

He says it is possible for this to change and even result in a dry stretch instead.

“For the skiers amongst us, for the winter outdoor activity lovers we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Kuss says.