Sorry, U.S. east coast! Not only did eastern Canada not have to deal with the monster winter storm over the weekend, but we sort of played a role in causing it, too . . . .
A high pressure area over eastern Canada served both as an “atmospheric shield” and provided the cold air needed for the moisture in the storm to transform from rain to snow, according to Environment Canada climatologist Dave Phillips.
The dominant high pressure area on the east side of the country kept the storm, a low pressure area, down south, Phillips explained.
“It was a blocking kind of situation that would block the weather system from coming too far north,” Phillips said. “But really, that high-pressure area in Canada gave them a lot of cold air which caused the rain to turn into snow. So they can blame us for that.”
Another reason we were strictly spectators to the winter storm was because the centre of its centre moved out over the water much earlier than expected, Phillips said. Combined with the high pressure area, Canada saw nary a snowflake.
“Even the Maritimes. I mean, gosh, the Maritimes . . . rarely do they ever miss a storm that buries Washington, New York, Boston, what have you,” Phillips said. “But this one had much more of an easterly wind component to it. It moved out over the ocean, and, so therefore it spared us. In fact, we had sunny skies.”
The storm dumped 80 to 86 cm. of snow on Pennsylvania and 68 cm. on Central Park over two days, a stark contrast to Toronto’s mild and relatively snow-free winter.
“What’s sort of interesting; they got more [snow] in one hour, in Central Park, than we’ve had the whole winter so far,” Phillips said.
To date, the Toronto has had 13.6 cm. of snow, far below the normal 58 cm. that’s supposed to have fallen by today. It’s only snowed on 10 days with the largest fall being 5 cm., and if it doesn’t snow again by the end of the month, it’ll go on record as the least snowy winter recorded.
“We’ve had seven times more rain than we’ve had snow. We’ve had three times more rain days than we’ve had snow days . . . . Winter’s been missing-in-action here,” Phillips said.
And it looks as though winter will stay missing for a little while longer; Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 6C Tuesday, and although we’ll dip below freezing for a bit during the week, temperatures will climb back up again to 4C by Sunday.