Green Christmas likely on its way

Ottawa has had a green Christmas just twice in the last 10 years.

But it’s looking like the third is on its way.

“We don’t really have any major system in sight, at this point,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell.

The best chance for snow is probably going to be next Wednesday.

“Right now, we’re saying 60% chance of flurries, but it’s too early to know if we’ll get any accumulation out of that,” said Kimbell, adding we’ve only had eight cm of snow, “which is way less than the usual 57 cm.”

The green Christmases were in 2006 and 2003, when there was just a trace of snow on the ground.

The record for the least amount of snow in the month of December was 15.5 cm, set in 1949.

Now, less than 10 days before Christmas, the grass is still visible and weather records are being set.

Thursday was a balmy 10.4C, setting the record high for Dec. 15.

“The old high was 9.7C in 2006,” said Kimbell.

For the month of December, “we have so far, recorded a mean temperature of -0.5C, which compares to a normal mean temperature of -7.1 C,” said Kimbell.

But the first half of December is always warmer, he said.

“So it would be expected that the mean temperature in the second half of December will almost always be considerably colder than the first half,” said Kimbell.

Has this been the warmest December so far on record?

“It is definitely warm, it has continued our trend of warm temperatures last fall,” he said.

But it’s premature to suggest we’ll beat the record because “there’s too much time left to go.”

From 2007 to 2010, Ottawa was covered with a total 116 cm of snow, although last winter saw just seven cm.

The last few days have been rainy — 10 mm to be exact — “which isn’t as much as you might have thought. It seemed like it was more than that, but a lot of it was light rain,” said Kimbell.

The next few days, meanwhile, will vary.

Saturday’s high is -10C while Sunday is expected to be sunny with a high of -6C.

Monday, “we’re looking for more rain — could possibly be wet snow, but officially, we’re saying rain,” said Kimbell.

Tuesday is projected to be sunny with a high of -7C, and then there’s a 60% chance of flurries Wednesday.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/12/16/green-christmas-likely-on-its-way

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