Southern Alberta Newspapers
Get ready for a warmer than usual summer, says Environment Canada.
“We think that May is really just the beginning of what is likely to be a warmer than normal summer,” said Dave Phillips, senior climatologist Environment Canada. “May was the dress rehearsal for summer.”
Last month was actually the warmest May we have had in 90 years, said Phillips.
The average afternoon temperature in May was 23.8 C and normally the average would be 19.3 C, he explained. We also had five days in May when the temperature was above 30 C. Our average night time temperatures were also above normal at 7.8 C compared to 5.4 C which is historically average.
The forecasted high for Saturday in the Hat is 31 C.
The rain expected on Saturday and Sunday will bring temperatures down but is particularly important because there may not be much moisture during summer, said Phillips.
The models to forecast precipitation are not ideal. Much of our rain comes in thunderstorms, making it difficult to predict months ahead.
“However, what we’re seeing for almost all of Alberta, a good chunk of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, our models are showing for June, July and August into September drier than normal,” said Phillips.
Rain is needed to balance things out and keep farmers and ranchers happy, he said. There is 60 per cent chance of rain on Saturday, 70 per cent on Sunday and more rain on Monday.
“Don’t curse it, bless it, because in fact that may very well be what gets you through some of these scorcher temperatures that you see coming up,” said Phillips.
June is by far the month in which the most precipitation in this region is seen. Typically June, the monsoon season, brings about 65 mm of rain while the next wettest month is May with 43 mm, said Phillips.
“We think the flavour of the months and weeks ahead will clearly be warmer than normal,” said Phillips.
Local weather has been anything but typical since October last year, which began with a snow storm. April was the coldest in 10 years, said Phillips. The only normal winter month was January.
“From November right through to April temperatures averaged about three degrees colder than normal,” said Phillips.
The other distinguishing characteristics was the intensely cold days. Typically, 22 days each year are colder than -20 C.
“You had 36 of those suckers,” said Phillips.