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Weather: The forecast of a cold, snowy winter in Southwestern Ontario has diminished along with La Nina out in the Pacific Ocean

By Hank Daniszewski, The London Free Press

(File photo)

(File photo)

Despite earlier forecasts of a “classic” Canadian winter, Environment Canada now predicts normal to above-normal temperatures for southern Ontario in January and February.

Meteorologist Geoff Coulson said La Nina — cool sea surface conditions in the Pacific Ocean — was supposed to bring a lot of lake-effect snow and frigid temperatures. But he said La Nina has moderated and may dissipate by the end of the month.

“We are leaning more toward things being normal, maybe a little warmer than normal,” said Coulson.

But it will be a roller coaster with temperatures plunging later this week and recovering next week.

There’s still a chance for some major snow squalls if northwest winds sweep over the still-warm Great Lakes.

“Conditions will change week to week with shots of cold and mild air, and that’s the challenge of forecasting Southwestern Ontario in winter,” said Coulson.

He said December had below-average rain of 36.4 millimetres and above-average snow of 64 centimetres, but the combined precipitation was right around normal.

He said the most striking overall trend in 2016 was a wet March and dry May followed by a long stretch of warm weather that continued until the end of November.

hdaniszewski@postmedia.com

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London Weather 2016

  • March set a monthly record for rainfall with 139 mm compared to the average of 46.3 mm
  • In contrast it was the driest May since 1977 with 31.1 mm of rain compared to the average 89.8 mm
  • August was hot and wet, the warmest August since 1959 with the average temperature of 22 and compared to the long-term average of 19.7. It was also the wettest August since 1985 with 170.4 mm of rain compared to the average of 82.9 mm