Sharpen your shovel and gas up the blower.
Hot on the heels of a scorching summer, and amid predictions of a warmer-than-usual fall, the region is destined for a stormy winter with heaping loads of snow that could arrive sooner than later, according to an Orillia weather watcher.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a 350- to 400 centimetre snowfall this season,” David Brain told Simcoe.com.
Predicting the weather to come relies, at least partially, on previous and current conditions that have an influencing force, said Brain.
Early October, for example, has proved unseasonably warm, with highs in the low twenties and lows ranging from 10 C to 13 C.
“Normal (temperatures) for this time of year are lows of six and highs of 16,” Brain said. “We are running about three to four degrees Celsius above normal overall.”
Cooler Arctic air in western Canada and the U.S. is trapping a “ridge” of warm air, originating from the Gulf of Mexico, over Ontario and other provinces to the east, he said.
When the cold air mass moves across large water bodies like Georgian Bay and Lake Huron – both of which are hovering at temperatures a few degrees above normal – the white fluffy stuff will start flying.
“We are going to have such a high temperature difference that it is going to create more intense snow squall activity,” Brain added.
While a typical winter’s snowfall for the Orillia area reaches about 280 centimeters, forecasters anticipate the coming season will mirror the 2014/2015 season.
“Winter lasted quite a while and snowfalls were above normal,” Brain said, pointing to an early start to the shoveling season as a possibility this year.
A cold wave last October, shortly after Thanksgiving weekend, produced a lake effect that dumped 25 centimetres on Collingwood and Duntroon.
Brain worries that an early snowfall could cause significant damage to trees that are clinging to their leaves longer than usual due to unseasonably warm weather.
“You need the colder air and less sunshine to cut off the chlorophyll supply to the leaves to make them turn, but we are not getting that,” he said. “If we were to get an early, significant October snowfall, we would see quite a devastating issue with the trees. You get six to 10 inches of heavy, wet snow on the trees and it snaps them.”
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