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2012 Canadian Winter Forecast

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For the last several months, many of you have been emailing us, leaving comments on our articles, and asking us on our Facebook page, “What’s in store for the coming winter?” Now, at long last, the wait is over! The 2012 Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is on shelves, and our much-awaited long-range forecast for the coming year is no longer a secret. Last winter, the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac suggested that after the unusually mild and dry winter of 2009—10, Old Man Winter would stage a comeback and traditional winter weather would be a “reality” once again. In our long-range outlook, we predicted colder-than-normal winter temperatures for the eastern provinces and milder-than-normal conditions for the western provinces.

And, though winter got off to a bit of a slow start, that’s eventually how things panned out. In contrast to its balmy December, some eastern provinces, including Newfoundland, averaged 2.5°C below normal.

So what’s in store for the coming winter?

(The following overview is for Canada. To read our predictions for the United States, click here).

(Continued Below)

For the winter of 2011—12, the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting unusually cold and stormy weather. For some parts of the country that means a frigid climate; while for others, it’s lots of rain and snow.

This will be a winter of “clime and punishment.” We are forecasting the upcoming winter will be cold to very cold, from Alberta east across Saskatchewan and Manitoba into western Ontario. Meanwhile, we predict temperatures will average above normal for much of Nova Scotia and, possibly, southern New Brunswick. Near-normal temperatures are expected elsewhere. A very active storm track will bring copious precipitation through the Great Lakes into central and eastern Ontario, Quebec, and much of the Maritimes. Another active storm track over the Pacific Ocean will guide systems into southern and central British Columbia and western Alberta, giving them a wetter-than-normal winter.

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7 denis { 11.05.12 at 12:47 am }

i live sask will we have a bad winter etc cold and alot of snow

8 Jaime McLeod { 09.26.12 at 8:59 am }

Emma, You can find our forecast for those dates here:

9 emma { 09.24.12 at 9:28 pm }

Hi I’m travelling to Vancouver, whistler, kaloomp, lake Louise, bamff, and Calgary from the 1st of November 2012 to the 19th of November 2012. Will it be snowing at all during this time?? I really really want It to be snowing its my first trip to Canada and I’ve been told its best to go in november for snow.

10 lolz { 03.26.12 at 6:28 pm }

this weather is soo beautiful love it alot.
can’t wait for summer soo hot
we are going to get alot fo bugs this year, not many died in the winter it wasn’t so cold
well more insects for us this year.

11 Gerald DB { 03.23.12 at 7:25 am }

We had a very mild winter in Claresholm Alberta this winter and getting some accumulations in March which melts very soon after once the sun come out.

12 Adrian Burridge { 03.18.12 at 11:55 pm }

First day of spring in 2012. If you use the weather to trade commodities I would love to hear from you. has been commenting on commodities since December 1999.

13 Bubba Smith { 03.18.12 at 11:27 pm }

In Manitoba, we have had the 4th warmest winter in recorded history (140+ years). It is mid-march and the temperature over the last half week has soared up to 23+ C. Snow fall has been minimal and it is very humid at the moment. What does Farmers Almanac have to say to this? I think their accuracy record will plummet given the missed-predictions over the past two years.

14 Fred { 03.13.12 at 9:01 am }

Wow everything this issue predicts is wrong here in Canada, i hope the farmers are not referring on this book this year.

15 bob koharski { 02.07.12 at 8:29 am }

these people that predict the weather are lucky if they can predict daylight correctly

there is nothing even remotely predictable about the weather

16 saul { 02.05.12 at 10:39 pm }

i live in eastern prince edward island winter it just starting the snow is here to stay it looks like but its cold as **** on and off.

17 knicks { 01.30.12 at 5:38 am }

how they will know what will be happened tommorow or in the other day

18 Deana { 01.26.12 at 10:00 pm }

In central Alberta we are just enjoying the winter, had snow in Nov, but none since, but could use some. The temperature was cold in Nov. for about one week and less than one week cold in January. You can’t beat that. Sure shortens up the winter.A big difference from last winter.

19 s { 01.26.12 at 2:21 am }

someone posted a site to see the next 3 months of weather ( into march ). how can any company know what day or week a thunderstorm is going to roll in?

20 Allen Quinlan { 01.21.12 at 5:18 pm }

Well I think so far this winter here in southern Ontario has been a bummer for those who take in outdoor activities like cross-country skiing like I do.The temperatures have been not consistently cold enough and not much snow.I really begin to ask myself why? I think all this talk of global warming is a hoax and to me I think someone has been manipulating the weather.You look at every season now and to me someone is screwing it up to make some money out of us who have to put up with this screwy weather!

21 OH CANADA { 01.15.12 at 12:47 pm }

The SUN doesn’t even come up in the East anymore. Get your compass out and check it.

22 OH CANADA { 01.15.12 at 12:45 pm }

Well its the middle of Janurary and no snow yet except foe a few cm the other day. This is the most snowless winter , I have seen in alot ever. And its going to stay in the plus mark right into Feburary . So I think your guessing is wrong again as usual. When the planet shifted its axis North and South shifting its axis of earth . You have to take that in to consideration for weather forecast or you will never get it right ever again. If you use a compass for the last 20 years everyday , then you will know what I mean.

23 Val { 01.05.12 at 3:25 pm }

well no snow here for us in this little city of Medicine Hat, Alberta.. +15 Deg yesterday and no looks of permanent snow in the forecast.. even some lilac bushes budding already!! just crazy.

24 MacDaddy { 12.29.11 at 8:01 am }

Nope! Good try won’t get cold til Feb. and maybe some Mar. Short mild snowless winter.

25 Bryguy { 12.27.11 at 4:00 pm }

One reason why snow rules, snowmobiling of course!!

26 snow prediction { 12.25.11 at 2:50 pm }

Its quite humorois to see some ppls posts. “i live here, whats the winter going to be?” the climate is harder to predict than the stock exchange so keep that in mind when asking your broad questions.

The weather system is so complex 90% of everyone cant understand it. If you cant analyse data then wait to see what the season will be like.

Also please try and remember before you complain about winter that it doesnt officialy stat untill late december, the 22nd. Troglodytes….

27 Tom { 12.19.11 at 4:54 pm }

Wow. “Very Wet, Stormy Cold” for Quebec? What the heck were you guys doing when you were doing this thing? It’s plain wrong, it only snowed once in November and then it melted. It’s never been in the negatives during the day, only positives. We are december 19th, and there’s no snow. I tell youm when you guys did this thing, you guys seriously screwed up, and according to the local weather forecast, there won’t be any snow for christmas. Thanks for getting my hopes up guys! 🙂 I appreciate it.

28 Deana { 12.16.11 at 12:46 am }

It’s Dec 15, 2011 I’am from central Alberta, so far have seen just fairly mild weather, not much snow. Would love it if it stayed this way all winter, but just maybe with more snow.

29 shane { 12.13.11 at 11:54 pm }

wher is winter no sign in sask dec 13 2011

30 Highwayman21 { 12.09.11 at 4:42 pm }

This winter according to the Almanac will be correct again, with a 90% or higher accuracy, compared to our Weather Meteoroligist who are at about 20% or less. Wish I could have a job that I am so wrong and yet get paid so well. Thank you for the weather on a yearly basis that we can trust.

31 Wendy Fletcher { 12.01.11 at 7:35 am }

does this mean were gonnna floood! ?

32 Todd { 11.30.11 at 12:30 pm }

meh, you guys are only right half the time.

33 Nathan { 11.28.11 at 7:02 pm }

who needs winter tires.All i need is my e brake!!!

34 Jaime McLeod { 11.28.11 at 4:23 pm }

You can see four months of forecasts for free here:

35 Andrea { 11.28.11 at 4:12 pm }

I would really like to know how the weather will be like in January-February 2012 for ONTARO. I LOVE SKIING! And i really want to know if i can be able to ski well with lots and lots of snow in Ontario.
Thanks, all the best wishes

36 Colin { 11.27.11 at 6:58 pm }

I wish I was an american that lived in Texas. Snow makes me say “BA HUMBUG!”

37 jib { 11.26.11 at 12:03 pm }

winter in Camnada rocks

38 H. McKenzie { 11.21.11 at 8:06 am }

To Peter H, we enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities: cross country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, etc. if you dress properly, you don’t get cold. And there’s nothing like the sun, shining out of a blue sky, onto a new snowfall. Looks like diamonds glinting in the sun. it’s a glorious sight! And no need to kick poor people when they’re down, Peter.

39 Peter H. { 11.15.11 at 4:44 pm }

Quit whining and get over it? Already have! I head south, just like all them snowbirds do. Just because I was born here doesn’t mean I have to like winter. I don’t. I never have.

Those who say they love winter do so because they can get out of it. They go indoors where it’s warm and comfortable or fly south for a week or two of sun and summer-like weather. Bet they won’t live out in it in a tent with a heater and a down sleeping bag. Heck even Boy Scouts only winter camp for a weekend often.

Hockey isn’t the #1 sport in Canada: complaining is! Canadian complain about everything, most especially the weather. It’s a country that gets two months of decent weather a year. The rest of the time, it’s one extreme or the other.

The reason these people say they love winter is because they can go indoors and get away from it. It’s amazing the number of Canadians you’ll meet on cruises to the Caribbean in the winter time!

Complainers see themselves as powerless. Oh poor little me! Then there’s those of us who have the ability & means to actually do something. Enjoy icy roads, 8 ft snow banks, freezing temperatures, slush, and sleet. I’ll hoist a drink on the beach in your honour. Ahhh! Warm sand feels so much better than snow…. Let me tell you, barbequed fish is great on Christmas Day!

40 Jackie Richardsen { 11.13.11 at 7:53 pm }

I live in Princeton, BC at an elevation of 1300meters. What will the winter be for me?

41 rose { 11.05.11 at 6:38 pm }

Will it snow in vancouver?

42 Steve { 10.31.11 at 11:31 pm }

back in 1995 we endured -40 (far/celsus) for 6 weeks. That summer in July we still hit frost at 4 feet, and we paid extra taxes to help pay for all the water pipes bursting for the next two years. First time I saw people driving around and having their extension cords wrapped around their mirrors instead of being dragged behind their cars as we sometimes saw a forgetful motorist. Not a pleasant experience at the time, but a great story to tell our kids and grandkids…along with walking up hill to school both ways in 10 feet of snow when we were kids….lol

43 mmekawy { 10.30.11 at 10:49 pm }

We call our self the True North. we endured cold snowy winters in the past. winter supposed to be cold when it gets milder and less snowy this is our own doing , our global warming. when we miss with nature nature will make us pay. we need snow for our rivers and lakes to rejuvinate its resources. so please let us have a very snowy nice bitter old fashion winter.

44 barbara { 10.30.11 at 4:59 pm }

sick and tired of ppl telling me how much they hate the cold. This is Canada this is Winnipeg, remember to pack a shovel in your car and a cord (case you forget to unplug). AND GET A GRIP. You all know its going to get cold. so dress for it. extra sweater socks who the heck cares what you look like as long as your warm.mitts on top of your gloves. why do you think ppl say was live in winterpeg.

45 clive jeffrey { 10.30.11 at 12:39 am }


46 wendy schedel { 10.29.11 at 2:27 pm }

wow.jacq.little has way way to many happy faces for winter… i cant think of one thing i like about the freezing cold… snow snow snow…blowing white outs… slippery icy roads:((((.. i just positivley hate it if i could i would move in heartbeat.(only nowdasy where do you go that might be safer?)..i feel for the poor animals outside and the farmers that have to care for them … i have yet to see a cow outside in winter time that looked like she enjoyed is brutal.. and nothing else!! are noisy and they stink… ..and most of the rides trespass on private land..just like it is their right… and packing in groceries..omg… need i go on… spring cant come soon enough for us…

47 Adam { 10.27.11 at 10:40 pm }

i live in vancouver canada and when are we gona get some snow

48 Heather { 10.24.11 at 4:53 am }

Unfortunately I agree with the later comments. I live in Edmonton and I love Christmas, building snowmen, talking walks down Candy Cane lane, going sledding, and all that jazz, but it’s too damned cold most of the time to go outside during the winter. Any exposed skin burns, the cold air makes it uncomfortable to breathe, so flying down a hill on the sled is hideously unpleasant on those days. That said, I’ll take the cold as long as I can drive without needing to wait 2+ weeks for the city to plow my alley so I can get my car out.

49 Leo Maxwell { 10.22.11 at 11:28 pm }

I think y’all live in lala land. A colder than normal winter? Last year, week after week after week…feeding livestock in 40 below weather…only one brief chinook..just long enough to burst water pipes..and then freeze again. Shovelling and plowing snow…we had drifts up to 14 feet deep down here on the Alberta/ Montana border.

Snow flakes weren’t fluttering…they were driven by howling winds…the county drivers were exhausted as they plowed snow drifts from the south winds and then plowed the same roads blown back in from the north winds.

Individuals were unable to get out their lane ways. ALL farmers with livestock suffered ALONG WITH their stock….I say BAH AND HUMBUG

For those of you who love the winter…come on down…and shovel and plow day after day after day. Get out of your condo’s and city heated walk ways and come and share the real life…..BAH HUMBUG

50 Liz { 10.20.11 at 10:22 am }

After rereading some of these comments regarding winter, some of you who think it is so wonderful are living in lala land. It is nice to get outside, play in the snow and come in a warm up with hot chocolate but most of the time it is too darned cold to do that! And that gets old pretty quick! Sure, we have to put up with it but the sooner winter is over, the better!

51 josh { 10.19.11 at 9:36 pm }

Im in Indiana will we get alot of snow this year

52 Kathyh { 10.19.11 at 11:48 am }

When do you think new brunswick will get our 1st cm of snow?

53 Brat { 10.16.11 at 4:06 am }

Good Morning…I am really looking forward to a cold snowy winter…in Coldwater Ontario….please, when can I anticipate heading out on the trails to snowmobile?
The Brat

54 Linda { 10.12.11 at 1:07 am }

Hi SHARON, expect January to be bitter, bitter, BITTER cold and TONS of snow. Not a good time to travel in Alberta. If people think last January was cold, they haven’t seen nothing yet!

55 Carol { 10.11.11 at 10:35 pm }

Winter can be quite harsh in Southern Alberta but I LOVE the sunshine here. Even in 30 below, you always have the sun and that energizes me. I love taking my sheperd/husky cross out into the snowbanks to run around and all the wild life is fun to watch. Then the river freezes over and the kids can go outdoor skating, just like in the old days.

56 sharon { 10.10.11 at 9:04 am }

we are planning on travelling from ontario back to alberta mid december 2011 and returning mid-january 2012. Can you tell me what you expect the weather to be during these times?
Will there be much snow before the end of the year or not until january?
thanks, Sharon

57 Aaron Campeau { 10.09.11 at 9:30 am }

Bring on the snow, canadian winters have cemented the finest memories I have! Now that I have children of my own I will pass on the same winter traditions that were taught to me in hopes of creating the same fond memories, from the snow covered trees to helping my dad shovel the driveway. Winter in Canada may seem very inconvienient, lets just keep in mind just how very special it is to the ones who matter the most……. If your lucky you might just get a little dejavu from when things were a little more simple….making the frigid winter months a little more tolerable.

58 Tom Jameson { 10.07.11 at 2:12 pm }

Here in the southern Prairies, last winter was challenging to say the least. That being said, we have just experienced some of the most beautiful, cloudless, warm and stable late summer and fall weather I can remember. I appreciate comments with different points of view, however, and I know I have been guilty of grumbling from time to time myself. I just have to remind myself that some of my complaining is the result of growing up without any real hardship. Cabin fever experienced with your thermostat set at 21 C and the remote in one hand is somewhat different than that of our forebears.

59 Liz { 10.05.11 at 11:38 pm }

I have to agree with “‘Opto Phobe””. Winter is not the glorious season that so many of you seem to think it is. It is cold — it is difficult to do things outdoors when you are at risk of frostbite! Skiing, snowshoeing etc. is fun when it is milder, not when you are freezing your tush off! The problem with winter (as is with summer) are the extremes! Canada is a beautiful country — we could do with a little less winter!

60 Timmy { 09.27.11 at 3:00 pm }

I’m happy to here that its going to be a cold and snwy winter.. Maybe it will drive out all the people out of Ontario that diss like the winter…..Timmy

61 cindy { 09.26.11 at 2:10 pm }

Southern AB winters are ok, some cold, but then chinook comes in and warms it up. my Huskey Malamute LOVES it and l love to take him sledding through the parks, and walking on a sunny day. even if its cold. put another layer on walk faster. and get home have a Hot chocolate, and have a bonfire in the back yard. BBQ hotdogs Winter is what you want to make of it. Yes somethimes it is cold. l run semi for 30yrs accross Canada and the US and l will take the Southern AB winters anyday anytime. Awesome. enjoy. find fun things to do and live life when you can… CANADA rocks..

62 Sue { 09.26.11 at 4:35 am }

Just like any other Canadian winter since God created this beautiful world we will have periods of extreme cold here on the prairies. I suggest an indoor hobby and a lot of time spent reconnecting with friends and family after a very busy summer. “Bloom where you are planted” and if you can, repot yourself somewhere warm sunny for a few weeks. Stay warm!

63 Opto Phobe { 09.24.11 at 10:48 am }

These very happy people leave such postive comments about winter but many of us in the urban centers in the prairie provinces do not share this enthousiasm. Our summers are beautiful, warm but rarely humid or uncomfortably hot. Winter, on the other hand, usually involves extreme cold and is far less enjoyable.

Sledding, skating and skiing are sports that are very uncomfortable whenever the temperature drops below -20, which it often does and usually for many days at a time. Walking any distance is an excursion that required advanced mental and physical preparation. Snow does not stick at these temperatures so snowmen, forts and snowball fights are impossible. Those of us that work or go to school in the winter do not see it in the same serene, peaceful light. Winter is a hostile environment. Cars do not run well in -20 and do not get warm until we reach our destination. Waiting for a bus is not a pleasant experience. We go to work or school in darkness and return in darkness, only catching glimpses of the dimmed sun through a window. Reliving youth during the winter season involves playing in the basement. No, winter is not bliss. A proud Canadian but dislike winter, the season of artificial light and indoor confinement.

64 jacqueline lynch { 09.12.11 at 11:06 am }

Wow after reading both, Jacqueline Little’s and yvanao5’s comments I’m so looking forward to winter.It is a beautiful time of the year,we are so blessed.

65 dudley wong { 09.09.11 at 9:11 pm }

Jacqueline Little’s comments mirror my own sentiments of the Winter season. Having spent Winters in BC, AB. SK, MB, YT, NT. ON…..I speak from experience. I now live on an Island in the Pacific. The Farmers’ Almanac hs been a staunch guide with accurate forecasting….it all depends on the weather….whether she will or whether she won’t. Pun intended, LOL!=0)

66 Jason Banks { 09.02.11 at 12:18 pm }

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Whatever will be, will be.

67 Merry Winter { 09.01.11 at 11:31 am }

Why do you not mention the north in your winter predictions ?
What can we expect in the Yukon this year?
We are so experiencing very unusual and wierd weather in recent years..No longer can we say we are a semi arid zone and we never know what to expect from day to day and its WET all seasons ):
Is it global warming or another large cycle coming around again ?
One wonders..

68 Jacqueline Little { 08.31.11 at 9:26 am }

I agree with “yvana05”. I think winter gets a bum rap (most of the time). I think the winter season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. I so enjoy it as well 🙂 🙂 The cooler temperatures are welcome, so much better than the uncomfortable heat and humidity of the summer. Have fun, go out and play in it–build a snowman, make some snow-angels, go sledding, ice skating, skiing, the possibilities are endless–re-discover the inner-child we all have tucked away somewhere within us. Then after that, come back inside, build a fire, curl up in a warm blanket and enjoy a nice hot cup of hot chocolate, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have someone to share it with, if not, reflect upon the day with a smile on your face and the pleasure in knowing that God created this for us to enjoy 🙂 🙂 Tomorrow is a new day with endless possibilities as well 🙂 🙂 I Love Winter 🙂 🙂 My advice is to embrace it 🙂 🙂

69 yvana05 { 08.30.11 at 11:50 pm }

I Love Winter Season here in this beautiful country Canada I love the blue and the dark clouds, the first snowfall of the season that arrives with a very cool temperatures and large snowflakes that flutter down towards Earth. I won’t be depressed because the drastic change in the amount of sunlight that we have each day .I accepted and I try to enjoy all the outdoors possible from photography – hiking and walk with my Golden Retriever on the top of a frozen Lake plus there is nothing more majestic than
to have the chance to see a white Christmas something that I enjoy & I appreciate very much. So please don`t be so negative about the Winter Season in Canada be happy with the True North & Free =)

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