Most Canadians will probably welcome the official start of spring this week but for the minority who can't get enough of snow and cold, Environment Canada is already providing a prediction of what next year's winter might feel like.
Although they're not considered to be even close to accurate or reliable, Environment Canada does prepare forecasts up to a year in advance and has released its first guess at what December through February 2009 has in store.
The early projection is calling for normal temperatures and above-normal amounts of precipitation for most of the country, although southern Ontario communities — with the exception of Ottawa — are forecast to get warmer than normal weather.
The territories and large chunks of British Columbia and Quebec are looking to be colder than normal, and only about a quarter of the communities for which Environment Canada has forecasts are expected to get less rain and snow than normal.
It will be several more months before the winter forecast gets more reliable, and at this point Environment Canada considers their educated guesses to be "not statistically better than pure chance and hence the confidence on the forecast is very low."

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