Lengthy, enjoyable fall ahead for most of Canada, Weather Network predicts

By | September 14, 2020

Canadians can look forward to a lengthy, pleasant fall that won’t give way to early winter temperatures and storms, according to one of the country’s top weather forecasters.

The Weather Network released its fall forecast Monday, and chief meteorologist Chris Scott says the predictions bode well for people hoping to take advantage of the outdoors for a few more months, especially to more easily physically distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re expecting a fall to savour across the country this year with a nice long finish,” Scott said.

He said the sketch of the upcoming season should offer some relief for Canadians after last year’s “wild fall” that brought winter storms and cold temperatures.

“This seems like an overall pleasant fall for many with near to above normal temperatures for most of the country.”

Wildfire smoke could linger in B.C.

In British Columbia, Scott said warm conditions and the threat of wildfire smoke may remain in the picture for a few more weeks.

Air quality in a number of cities from Vancouver Island to the Kootenays has been among the worst in the world, on and off, since Friday, due to smoke from wildfires in Oregon, Washington state and California. 

A cyclist on the beach in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Environment Canada has issued an air quality advisory for most of British Columbia this weekend because of wildfire smoke from Washington and Oregon. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

But October and November seem likely to return to wet weather and cooler temperatures that hint at an early ski season in the coastal mountains, the Weather Network says.

The wet weather is predicted to travel across the Rockies in October, bringing more precipitation than usual to southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan.

No signs of dramatic autumn snowstorms in Prairies

Environment Canada says Alberta will now likely see an increasing number of air quality advisories as an infusion of Pacific air starts to push smoke east.

Air quality statements had been issued for four regions of southwestern Alberta along the Rockies on the weekend, but the weather office says alerts would likely expand.

An air quality statement was issued for Calgary on Monday evening as smoke blew in from wildfires in California. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The Weather Network’s Kyle Brittain told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday that if the winds stay just right, Calgary might dodge the worst of the wildfire haze — though it could still prevent the sun from warming the earth, ushering in some cooler fall temperatures.

“It’s amazing to think just how close we are to some of these wildfires burning, geographically speaking, but we haven’t really been smoked out. And really, that’s a function of not having been in that southwest wind,” Brittain said.

While snow has already appeared in some parts of Alberta, where weather patterns can be unpredictable, Scott said this season “does not look like a fall that’s going to snap into winter come late October and November, like it sometimes does.”

He said temperatures and precipitation will hover at seasonal averages across the Prairies, with the exception of some colder weather in northwest Alberta.

There isn’t any sign of dramatic snowstorms like the one in southwestern Manitoba last fall, Scott added.

“It’s not going to be a warm fall necessarily — it’s more about the absence of an early start to winter across this region,” he said.

Ontario, Quebec can expect some good leaf-viewing weather

As for Ontario and Quebec, Scott said the cooler temperatures that arrived early in September after a hot summer don’t represent the full picture of the season ahead, which bodes well for camping and other outdoor pastimes.

“It looks like some pretty good leaf-viewing weather and overall — whether it’s for outdoor education or just getting outside — pretty good weather for October, even into early November,” he said.

He said temperatures will be above normal for most of the fall season in much of Ontario and southern Quebec, and precipitation will be “near normal.”

Atlantic Canadians can expect higher temperatures through fall

Atlantic Canadians can expect this summer’s pattern of higher temperatures to continue into the fall, Scott said.

More precipitation is in the forecast after a dry summer, especially across northern New Brunswick, Labrador and in parts of eastern Quebec.

Tropical storms from the south are a wild card to watch as they develop, Scott said, potentially bringing more rainfall to the region.

Could be colder than normal parts of north

In Northern Canada, temperatures will be fairly consistent with the season across the territories, Scott said, with dips below average in the southern parts of the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

Precipitation will be fairly normal in the North, though it may be above average in parts of western Yukon.

Scott also shared early predictions about a winter that looks like it may bring cold and snow to the west and fluctuation between mild weather and intense snow to the east.

La Niña could bring colder, snowier winter to West

He said the Weather Network is watching a developing La Niña in the Pacific Ocean. Known as “the cool cousin of El Niño,” Scott said La Nina can signal a colder, snowier winter in Western Canada.

That’s good news for skiers, Scott said, but he noted the potential for “significant snow right down to sea level” could be a problem for the greater Vancouver area.

La Niña winters typically feature big storms across the country and those seasons can be “a bit fickle” in Eastern Canada, Scott said. This winter may feature intense winter storms in the East with mild periods in between.

Seasonal weather predictions should be looked at as a rough outline rather than a detailed picture, Scott said, as he advised people to enjoy the autumn before a potentially intense winter sets in.

“It’s a time to get outdoors and enjoy it, because when winter comes we do think it’s going to come with a little bit of gusto this year.”

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