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If you are planning a winter holiday, you might want to aim for February or early March. David Phillips with Environment Canada says that is because it appears the last part of winter will have the most bite in southern Manitoba.

Phillips today released his winter weather outlook for the months of December, January and February. He says December will start mild and sunny, with not much for storm activity in the first week. By the third week of December the cold air should have arrived and Phillips says it looks like it will be a white Christmas for southern Manitoba.

Phillips says if their forecast is right, December and January will be warmer than normal and then February and early March will be the toughest part of winter. He notes that is because we will be under the influence of a La Nina, a term used to describe a period of cold water in the Pacific Ocean. But, because it will only be a weak La Nina, Phillips says many forecasters are using the term 'uncertain' when giving the winter weather outlook.

"You ask forecasters how much money would they put on the winter forecast, it wouldn't be a lot," admits Phillips. "If it was a strong La Nina, well they'd be willing to go to the bank on it, they'd say there's no question it's going to be a snowier and a colder than normal winter."

Having said that, Phillips says the weak La Nina will have no influence on precipitation for us in southern Manitoba.

"Hard to say how it's going to go with precipitation, we really don't even want to issue a forecast for precipitation," says Phillips. "Not that it's bad or scary, it's just that there's no skill in it."

Meanwhile, we have just come through a month where the average temperature was about 1.5 degrees colder than normal. Phillips says November was quite the contrast from September and October.

"It was almost a slap in the face," he says.

The coldest day of the month was November 9th when the mercury dipped to -21.8 degrees. The warmest it got was 8.5 degrees on November 27th. He notes the deepest snow base last month in Steinbach was 8 centimetres, but it was only about half that at month end.

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