“Super El Niño” may bring warmer winter

This winter will feel "tropical" compared to last year, says Environment Canada.

A huge pocket of warm air sweeping east from the Pacific Ocean has the potential to bring you a warmer winter this year, according to the National Post. But while you may not be freezing your ass off, don’t count on wearing a t-shirt in January either.

Forecasters are predicting a “warmer than average” winter — to qualify as warmer than average, the temperature has to be at least one degree warmer for an entire straight month. So instead of a high of -7C, you’ll get a high of -6C.

The last “super El Niño” winter we saw occurred in 1997-1998. That winter was also characterized by the ice storm that ravaged much of eastern Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Conditions for ice storms are worsened by the presence of an El Niño, but that’s no guarantee that we could see freezing rain like we did in 1998.

When compared to the last two winters we’ve had, this one will seem warmer regardless of the El Niño, said David Phillips of Environment Canada in the National Post. Last year, Ottawa recorded 38 days with lows of -20C or below. The average is 16 days.

So go forth, Torontonians. Build a snowman without your nostrils freezing shut! Go skating without your eyelashes frosting over! Just get out of the house.

Header photo courtesy Jackman Chiu via Flickr