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El Niño this winter means less snow on B.C. ski hills: Environment Canada

El Nino comparison: 1997 vs. 2015
This visualization shows side-by-side comparisons of Pacific Ocean sea surface height (SSH) anomalies of what is presently happening in 2015 with the Pacific Ocean signal during the famous 1997 El Niño. NASA/JPL

British Columbia could be in for a warmer than normal winter and now forecasters are speculating about what could mean for the ski season on the North Shore hills.

Accuweather is predicting temperatures well above normal because of a strong El Niño. But it’s also expecting more snow on local mountains.

READ MORE: 5 things to know about El Niño, coming to Canada this winter

Last year, North Shore ski resorts were hit particularly hard because of the warm weather. Many had to close early.

But Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, doesn’t share the same optimism about more snow.

“With these higher than normal temperatures expected right throughout the winter and into next spring, unfortunately a higher proportion of the total snowfall will fall as rain,” he said. “So the average freezing level will be a little bit higher, by the tune of about two to four hundred metres, meaning that for the North Shore Mountains, not the greatest news. Places like Whistler that benefit from more vertical won’t fare too bad, but definitely not as much snow in the village.”

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READ MORE: El Niño event will lead to coastal flooding and erosion of B.C.’s coast

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