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Warm and dry or cold and wet in 2009?

As we begin a new year, instead of looking back at what the weather was like during 2008, let us peer into the “weatherperson’s” crystal ball and see what the weather might have in store for us in 2009. To do this I usually rely on four different long-range weather forecasts: Environment Canada (EC), the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and, finally, my own two cents, just for fun.

To start off, we will look at what the two different almanacs have to say. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the cold December temperatures will moderate during January and February to above average, then plummet in March. Temperatures will then warm back up to around average in April and stay around average right through to the fall. The new year will start off on the dry side in January and February, but with the cold weather in March we will also see above-average amounts of precipitation. Things will then dry out as we move through April and May, but June looks to be fairly wet. Rainfall will then become a little more scarce as we move through the summer and into the fall.

Storms and rain

Over at the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac, it calls for our cold weather to continue into January, with a prediction of a big storm sometime between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11 (I just love how they are able to forecast these storms months and months ahead of time when everyone else has trouble predicting them five to 10 days in advance!). Looking at February, March and April it looks like the cold weather will continue. February appears as if it will be dry, while March and April will be very stormy; it predicts a dangerous blizzard around March 1-3, and thunderstorms around the middle of April with severe weather to end the month.

May sounds like it warms up, according to what the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac has to say, but it still sounds like it will be wet, with a lot of talk about storms and rain. The warm-up continues for June, with several mentions of warm and hot weather along with some showers here and there. The summer sounds like it will be a mixed bag of weather, with hot spells followed by cold snaps. Along with these swings in temperature we will see several chances for severe weather, especially around July 8-11 and Aug. 4-7.

Finally, according to the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac, the fall of 2009 looks to be cool and on the dry side as it mentions cool and chilly conditions quite often and tends to talk about light showers here and there. One interesting thing to note is that it predicts the possibility of blowing dust across the Prairies late in October, so I guess it would have to be pretty dry for that to happen.

General trends

OK, now on to our friends at Environment Canada. Unlike the almanacs, EC doesn’t try to predict weekly or even daily weather several months in advance. Instead it tries to predict general trends in the weather. While these forecasts are updated several times during the year, we will take a snapshot of what they are predicting right now and then come back to them later in the year to see how they have done (along with everyone else). Well, according to the latest information I could find, January and February will see temperatures that are colder than average over the Prairies. Precipitation will be above average for all regions during this period.

The March to May period, according to EC, will see near-average temperatures along with a continuation of aboveaverage precipitation. The summer looks to be warm and wet, with a call for aboveaverage temperatures and precipitation. Finally, it looks like the fall will see a continuation of warmer-than-average temperatures but things will finally dry out, with a prediction of below-average amounts of precipitation.

My gut

Now, I’m not nearly as scientific as those at EC, and I have no idea how they create the long-range forecasts at either of the almanacs. I simply look at the temperature and precipitation trends over the last several months and then go back into the weather records and look for similar trends. I then see what weather occurred in those years and come up with a prediction. OK, I also throw in a good dose of what my gut tells me. So, after crunching some of the numbers and doing a “gut check,” here’s what I have come up with.

Winter looks like it will continue on the cold side with the odd warm period. It will continue to be stormy over the winter but most of the storms will remain to our south, giving near-average amounts of snow. The cold weather looks like it will continue into the spring along with drier-thanaverage conditions. At least this is what the numbers tell me. My gut leans toward a cold start to spring, followed by warmer weather.

For the summer, the numbers call for cooler-thanaverage conditions along with near-average amounts of rainfall. I’m not too sure if it will be cooler than average so my gut feeling is to bump up the temperatures, but that just might be my wishful thinking more than my instinct. Finally, the fall looks like it will be nice with near-average temperatures and precipitation.

No matter what the weather holds in store for us in 2009, here’s wishing you will all get just the right amount of sunshine, precipitation and warm or cold temperatures to meet your needs!

About the author

Co-operator contributor

Daniel Bezte

Daniel Bezte is a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the U of W. He operates a computerized weather station near Birds Hill Park.

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