Climate and monthly weather forecast

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Flag of Canada

The climate of Canada

Canada has a mainly cold climate, with short, warm summers and long, frigid winters. The northern and central portions experience a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification ET, Dfc). The extreme south is mostly humid continental (Köppen Dfa, Dfb), a small portion of which is a cold semi-arid desert (Köppen BSk). The southwestern Pacific coast has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb, Cfc). Canada lies in North America and shares a vast border with the United States in the south and Alaska in the northwest. The Pacific Ocean lies in the west, the Arctic in the north, and the Atlantic in the east. The high latitudes, lack of mountains to shield polar air masses, and cold currents are the main factors that influence the climate.

Three oceans together give Canada the longest coastline in the world spread over 151,000 miles. The Labrador current keeps the Atlantic coast colder than the Pacific coast. The landscape is diverse with mountains, plateaus, swamps, and consists of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The Rocky Mountains block air masses from the west, while the Great Prairies to the east of the mountains have large populations due to warm conditions. Cold air from Siberia, the Siberian Express, brings extreme cold to the northwest. The winter temperatures are below freezing in much of Canada, except for British Columbia in the south. The western slopes of the Rocky Mountains receive up to 2032mm (80") of annual rainfall, and the climate is humid. Chinook winds at the foot of the mountains occasionally raise temperatures in the winter.

The best time to visit Canada

The best time to visit Canada, especially in the south and central provinces, is during late summer and early autumn between August and September.
A colorful landscape with wildflowers, trees, and abundant colorful maples are a highlight of the autumn, which has milder temperatures than the peak of the summer. Late spring to early summer from May to June is also a favorable period in the bottom half of the country. Peak summer in July sees high temperatures in the south but is comfortable in the northern arctic and subarctic regions. The Indian summer is a warm and peaceful period that sometimes lasts until October.

The worst time to visit Canada

The worst time to visit Canada is from December to February in the frigid winter.
The temperatures often drop to extremes that are much below -17.8°C (-0°F). Much of Canada sees average high temperatures below freezing in the cold season. April and May are troublesome with the melting of snow and large scale slush that creates walking and driving hazards. Frost and snowfall are rampant everywhere and affects everyday life. Blizzards frequently occur to create unfavorable conditions. It is imperative to have cold-weather suited clothes, as exposure of the naked skin to the cold is hazardous. The ski season and ski enthusiasts are the net gainers from the abundant snow accumulation.

Spring Weather in Canada

Spring in Canada, particularly in its southern regions, is a period of transition as the harsh winter slowly gives way to milder temperatures. From March to May, the snow melts, leading to significant slush, which can pose challenges to mobility. The average temperature begins to rise, with daytime highs in April ranging from 7°C (44.6°F) to 15°C (59°F), with the warmer temperatures predominantly in the west and southwest. Precipitation levels are moderate during spring, with the country receiving rainfall between 20mm (0.79") to 90mm (3.54") monthly.

Summer Weather in Canada

Summer in Canada, particularly between June and August, is generally warm and pleasant. The Great Plains in the Midwest, for instance, can experience temperatures above 37.8°C (100°F). Even the northwest region, including Yukon, sees warm summers with cooler nights. The Pacific coast enjoys bright summers, with the Atlantic coast being mild and rainy. The average high temperatures range between 25°C (77°F) and 30°C (86°F) in the southern interior lands, and can exceed 40°C (104°F) during the hot season.

Autumn Weather in Canada

Autumn in Canada, occurring from September to November, is a time of vibrant colours and cooler temperatures. The country begins to cool after the summer, with average daytime temperatures gradually declining from 20°C (68°F) in September to 5°C (41°F) in November. Precipitation is moderate to high during this season, with areas near the Great Lakes receiving more than 1016mm (40") of rainfall annually.

Winter Weather in Canada

Canada's winter, spanning from December to February, is characterized by its long, cold conditions with heavy snowfall and year-round snow cover. Winter temperatures are below freezing in much of Canada, except for southern British Columbia. The Canadian Prairie experiences harsh winters with temperatures falling below -40°C (-40°F). Snow remains on the ground for more than 250 days in many places, with Glacier National Park in British Columbia receiving 14097mm (555") of snow annually. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -52.8°C (-63°F) at Snag, Yukon, on February 3, 1947.

Weather in January

January is the heart of winter in Canada, featuring some of the coldest temperatures experienced throughout the year. During this month, the country is deeply entrenched in winter's grip, with significant snowfall and often frigid conditions. The northern and central regions of Canada, predominantly covered by a subarctic climate, experience average high temperatures that often stay below -15°C (5°F). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February continues the winter season in Canada, often characterised by equally cold, if not colder, conditions compared to January. Across the country, residents brace themselves for more snowfall, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. The northern and central regions maintain their frigid hold with temperatures well below -15°C (5°F). Weather in February »

Weather in March

March in Canada marks the transition from winter to spring, bringing gradual warmth and extended daylight hours. However, the weather remains quite variable, with late-season snowfall and early spring rains. In northern and central regions, including territories like Yukon, temperatures start to rise slightly but can still linger well below -10°C (14°F). Weather in March »

Weather in April

April heralds the arrival of spring in Canada, with rising temperatures, longer daylight hours, and an increase in rainfall as the primary form of precipitation. However, weather conditions can still fluctuate widely during this month, making it unpredictable at times. In the northern and central regions of Canada, such as Yukon, temperatures continue their gradual climb. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May signifies the full bloom of spring across Canada, characterised by warmer temperatures, ample sunshine, and a further decline in snowfall. The onset of favourable weather makes outdoor activities more enjoyable and marks the start of the planting season. In the northern and central parts of the country, including regions like Yukon, the mercury rises to hover between 6°C (42.8°F) to 14°C (57.2°F), providing some relief from the long, cold winter. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June marks the official commencement of summer in Canada, bringing with it longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and generally drier conditions. Canadians welcome this month as an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities and celebrate the end of the school year. In northern regions such as Yukon and Nunavut, temperatures during the day can range from 14°C (57.2°F) to 21°C (69.8°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is typically the warmest month in Canada, offering high temperatures, extended daylight hours, and generally low precipitation, making it ideal for outdoor recreation and summer festivals. In the northern regions, including areas like Yukon and Nunavut, temperatures can climb to between 15°C (59°F) and 25°C (77°F) during the day, with the Midnight Sun phenomenon still providing extended daylight hours. On the west coast, cities like Vancouver and Victoria experience mild and pleasant weather, with temperatures typically varying from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is the last full month of summer in Canada and it continues to offer a variety of weather conditions, depending on the region. Warm temperatures, coupled with an occasional rainfall, mark the impending end of the summer season. In the northern territories, including Nunavut and Yukon, temperatures typically range from 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F), which is slightly cooler compared to July. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September in Canada is a time of transition as the warm summer gives way to the cooler, crisp conditions of autumn. The month usually starts with mild temperatures, but these gradually decrease as the month progresses. In the northern territories of Nunavut and Yukon, the temperatures in September usually fluctuate between 5°C (41°F) and 15°C (59°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October signals the full onset of autumn in Canada. As temperatures decrease, landscapes transform into a vibrant palette of reds, oranges, and yellows, while daylight hours diminish gradually. In the northern territories, including Nunavut and Yukon, October heralds the arrival of the cold season. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in Canada marks the transition from autumn to winter as temperatures continue to fall and daylight hours decrease. Snowfall becomes more frequent, particularly in the northern and central parts of the country. In the northern territories, including Nunavut and Yukon, temperatures plunge even further, typically ranging from -15°C (5°F) to -5°C (23°F). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December in Canada is characterized by the arrival of winter in full force, with colder temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and significant snowfall in many regions. This month also ushers in the holiday season, making it a time of festivities and winter activities. In the northern territories, which include Nunavut and Yukon, the climate becomes harsh with temperatures often dropping below -20°C (-4°F). Weather in December »


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