While the western half of the country will be bundling up this winter, AccuWeather expert meteorologist Brett Anderson said residents in much of the eastern half will save themselves a few Canadian dollars on heating costs.

Climatologically above-average temperatures are likely in store for those regions, which includes some of the country’s most populated and visited cities of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. But that doesn’t spell doom for snowfall totals, so forecasters say don’t cancel that ski trip just yet.

“While this winter does not look all that cold from Ontario to Quebec, it will be cold enough to support many opportunities for significant snowfall this winter,” Anderson said. “I expect a favorable winter with solid snow bases across much of ski country in eastern Canada and especially across Quebec.”

Similarly, a milder start to winter for areas surrounding the Great Lakes won’t dictate a lack of snow for the season as a whole. AccuWeather experts expect an above-average season snow total for Toronto, the nation’s most populous city, which could arrive in a similar fashion as last year’s winter when nearly 6 inches fell in mid-February.

Residents hoping for a white winter in those surrounding locations can be rooting for below-average ice coverage on the Great Lakes toward the end of the season. As of mid-October, water temperatures in the Great Lakes were above normal, particularly in Lake Ontario near Toronto.

According to SeaTemperature.info, water temperatures in Lake Ontario were hovering around 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the second week of October, significantly higher than in years past. In 2020, those water temperatures were as low as 54 degrees in some areas at this time.

“The Great Lakes snow belts are likely to get less lake-effect snow compared to normal during December and January,” Anderson said. “But that may pick up by February with a possible increase in cold shots over mostly-open lakes.”

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