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Stormhunter: searching for winter

Stormhunter Mark Robinson is looking for winter in western Canada
Stormhunter Mark Robinson is looking for winter in western Canada

Staff writers

February 3, 2012 — Where's winter? Stormhunter and meteorologist Mark Robinson is looking to answer that question in the next edition of Stormhunters. Here's an update on his journey so far.

A look at where there is snow on the ground in Canada
A look at where there is snow on the ground in Canada

He's been through hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and ice storms. Yet, when Stormhunter and meteorologist Mark Robinson went out west "looking for winter," he was surprised at what he found.

"What were hoping for as we came across the country was to get a good taste of the Canadian winter," says Robinson. "I came out to the Prairies imagining it would be nasty cold, only to find pretty much T-shirt weather!"

Gina Ressler is a meteorologist at The Weather Network. She says this winter has been remarkable in parts of western Canada.

"What's staggering is not only how warm the temperatures have been, but how long they've stayed that way," she says. "We're now into February and we've only had one, maybe two, cold snaps. That's not normal."

Robinson agrees.

"This is definitely a weird winter. It's part of the large-scale pattern of La Nina. Basically what's happening is we've got the jet stream stuck way to the north, so it's not allowing the cold air to sink south.".

In fact, when Robinson and fellow stormchaser George Kourounis arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan, the temperature was hovering around 4 degrees. The normal daytime high for this time of year should be around -9 degrees.

"Not only is it mild, but there's also no snow on the ground," says Robinson.

Viewers and fans of The Weather Network in western Canada took to the social media websites Facebook and Twitter to let us know what they thought of this year's mild winter so far.

"Loving it," tweeted Lisa Strong of Red Deer, AB. "Hoping we won't pay for it later. Saved a lot of money on my heating bill."

George Kourounis and Mark Robinson are creating the next edition of Stormhunters
George Kourounis and Mark Robinson are creating the next edition of Stormhunters

Marsha Herde agrees. "As a Realtor, a mild winter here in Moose Jaw, SK makes life a LOT easier. Dry roads and walkways are awesome!" she commented on Facebook.

Still, not everyone is enjoying this year's mild weather in western Canada.

"I would like to have more snow so my flowers will survive the winter," said Jetta Fletcher of Brandon, MB. "When there is no cover for them it is hard on the perennials."

Robinson also spoke with some locals in Saskatchewan who are having trouble with this year's lack of snow and ice.

"Ice fishermen can't get their huts out on the ice. Dog sledders are worried about business. This winter has affected them negatively," he said.

While Robinson and Kourounis haven't been able to find much winter in the Prairies, their journey didn't begin there. The two captured a powerful Nor'easter as it was hitting the Maritimes earlier this season. They were also in the thick of some epic snowsqualls in southern Ontario.

Robinson says their hunt for winter elsewhere in the country is far from over.

"We're going to head down to Vancouver and I'm going to jump into the Pacific Ocean. I've already jumped in the Atlantic Ocean, and I'm hoping that on this trip I'll get to jump in the Arctic Ocean too!" he exclaimed.

Robinson says viewers will be impressed while watching the next installation of Stormhunters.

"In addition to seeing winter in eastern Canada, we've gotten to go up in the BC mountains and do snow-profiling. I've never seen snow like this, it's just incredible," he says. "And now, what we're aiming to do is make the epic journey from Revelstoke straight up north, north of the arctic circle, to Tuktoyaktuk. Basically it's one of the most northern locations you can get to by car. That's just going to be spectacular."

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