The latest winter in Canada will go down as the warmest and driest winter on a national basis since records started in 1948. The 3 month period of Dec 2009 - Feb 2010 averaged 4.0C above normal for the country as a whole, topping the previous record mildest national winter of 2005-06 which was 3.9C above normal. The bulk of the warmth was observed over Arctic Canada which experienced its warmest winter on record on a regional basis averaging over 5C above normal. In the Prairies, the winter did not rank in the top 10 mildest winters since 1948 with the southwestern prairies being the only part of the country which experienced a cooler than normal winter this year.
This past winter was also the driest on record over the country, with precipitation averaging some 22% below normal. This makes it the driest winter on a national basis since 1977-78 which averaged 20% below normal. The winter was the 9th driest on record for the Prairies averaging some 39% below normal precipitation. The warm and dry winter can be at least partly attributed to the moderately strong El Nino which has been persistent since last fall.