AlbertaWX is a group of chasers and spotters based in central Alberta.
Notice: Forecast models are still in a disagreement over the track, Snow line, and intensity of this Low pressure system. If you live near the expected snow-rain line(Saskatoon, Edmonton, Red Deer, And Calgary) be prepared for no snow at all or 30+cm of snow. It all depends on the track and timing. Thundersnow/thunderstorms may cause higher localized accumulations.
A major spring storm in expected to begin tonight and track through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. There is still some disagreement in the models as for the exact track, and temperatures however it appears the snow-rain line should be the Yellowhead highway, and along the QE2 highway. To the south and east we can expect rain or a mix of rain and snow with little accumulation of snow.
Upwards of 25mm of rain can be expected near the snow line and to the southeast, as well as showers and even thunderstorms.
To the north snowfall amounts well over 30cm can be expected and thundersnow is a widespread general risk.
The maps below are my interpretation of the forecast models. NAM, GFS, GEM global, and GEM Regional over multiple runs.
Starting off mostly as snow Thursday morning over most areas, switching to rain or mix near and southeast of the snow/rain line around 9am to noon. The snow line will move south overnight Friday, bringing accumulating snow in cities such as Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, and Saskatoon. During the day Friday the snow line may not move north again and snow slowly tapers off in Alberta into early Saturday.
Aftermath: Most areas that get heavy snow likely retain that snowpack well into the work week or the following weekend. Record breaking cold is possible Sunday morning as temperatures could dip as low as -15C in Central and Northern Alberta behind the low. Well below normal temperatures could last the rest of next week as well.
The risk of flooding is high, especially on the SK side of the storm as the 40-50cm of snow melts into already swollen creeks and rivers.
Wind gusts of 50-80km/h will cause blowing snow and reduced visibility in areas that receive heavy snowfall.
Coming into meteorological spring we had a cold and snowy winter in the southwest of the province and a warm and dry winter up north, conditions were near normal over the central portions of the province. The warmth was in part due to a milder January and a very strong February that, many areas saw temperatures soar well over 15C, even in the Capital region. Such heat might not be seen again until well into April.
Overall Spring will be colder than normal over much of the southern and northern part of the province, near normal to warmer than normal in eastern Alberta.
An area of warmer and drier compared to normal should extend east from the Capital region due to a lack of any snowpack in addition to seasonal models not showing significantly wet over that area. Precipitation will be above normal over the foothills contributing to a higher flood risk than last year. The rest of the province will have closer to normal rain and snow.
March: Much colder than normal, wetter in the southern part of the province. Dry over East central Alberta.
April: Beginning of cold and very wet, The pattern will transition at some point to a much warmer and drier pattern as a warm pattern builds in the northern part of the province. The area near and east of the capital region possibly reaching the 20s first in the province for the year. Cool and snowy weather lingers along the foothills and southern Alberta. Significant snowstorms are a high risk through much of the province.
May: As northern Alberta warms up colder conditions might linger in the southern part. Heavy snowfall is a risk well beyond the May long weekend. Above normal temperatures may not take hold south until late May or into June.
Some risk notes for spring 2017:
After the summer like heat in November’ winter came on schedule and hit hard. Much of the province has already receive extreme cold alerts before the making of this forecast.
Overall the upcoming winter will be a cold and snowy one with long lasting cold snaps and a good chance of seeing temperatures dipping below -40C. The AO looks positive from Mid Dec through to ~Mid January contributing to what is likely to be the milder part of the winter
2nd half of December: Much colder than normal, dry. Brutally cold to start, mild weather takes hold for the holidays but colder into 2017.
January 2017: Near to slight colder than normal, snowy.Near normal for the beginning, turning colder late, risk of at least one major blizzard.
February 2017: Much colder than normal, near to above normal snowfall. Very cold for much of the month.
March 2017: Near normal to colder than normal, much above normal snowfall. Beginning very cold with frequent snowstorms, turning milder. There is quite a bit of uncertainty with March, some data is showing continued cold while other sources(current CFSv2) show an early spring.
After an October that was more than 2C colder than normal and with double the snowfall things are to dramatically switch for November. Starting around Oct 26th the long range models consistently plotted record smashing temperatures. As of this post(Nov) so far day 2 of that same record heat. A very strong pattern has set up and locked in the heat for Western Canada.
Temperatures have shot up towards the 20s, IN NOVEMBER. One location(Edmonton Airport) broke the all time high for the month twice on consecutive days, and there might even be a 3rd! Current models+bias(actual temperature-modelled temperature=Bias) shows even this record could fall again during the 2nd week of the month as temperatures might even reach the mid 20s in parts of central and southern Alberta.
This heat wave may last for a significant time. The CFS,ECMWF are jumping around between the 15th and inter December for the end of the 10+C warmer than normal weather. Generally the 20th is a good guess at this point for this forecast.
Overall November could 10C warmer than normal or higher and in the top 5 toastiest on record. Closer to normal conditions could be in store toward the final two weeks
Nov 1-10: Extremely warm and dry. Temperatures from the teens to the low 20s.
Nov 10-20:Possibly the peak of the warmth with temperatures nearing the mid 20s in select locations in central and southern Alberta.
Nov 20-30: Cooling off. Timing of the cool down will decide where in the top 5 Nov 2016 will sit. Temperatures could see a 50C drop from the highs were seeing for the beginning of the month
Earlier I decided not to do a forecast for October as at first the one in the Fall 2016 forecast seems good. But things may not pan out that way, so here is your October 2016 forecast)
Near of above normal temperature are staying at 3 and 4 weeks out in the models when we get closer the trends have changed. This is what I see as a good sign of stubborn weather pattern.
October 2016 could be the coldest in a decade, with temperatures close to 5-10 degrees below normal, above normal snow/rainfall.
Oct 8-15: Temperatures well below normal with several rounds of snow, it will look and feel more like December.
Oct 15-31: getting even colder with more snow. This could be the actual start of Winter 2016/17 as the snow may stick around until March or April 2017.
Some Recent examples of very early winter’s would be winter 2004/05 and winter 2006/07 with winter starting in Mid Oct and Late Oct respectively. Oct 2009 saw a period of extremely cold temperatures(-20C) and snow, but there 15C weather in November that managed to remove all of the snow.
After a summer better called the “monsoon season” the transition into Autumn seems to have the same rain, and more rain we have seen since mid May. 2016 was the 2nd most active since 2005 with 59 thunderstorms as of Sept 8, so a few more are likely before the end of the year so I could see a tie for the most active. 2016 also made news with it’s severity being the first in a decade to see 10 or more tornadoes and was closer to pre-2002 activity, also a populated area was impacted(Ponoka) by one of these tornadoes(EF-1). I recorded a total of 16 severe thunderstorms in my single local area which is the highest number I’ve logged since i started keeping track in 2005. We are currently entering the autumn with moisture levels not seen in years so we may see thunderstorm outbreaks and heavy rainfall events into October. Unless the fall is much cooler than average 2016 will run in the top 3 warmest years on record. Much of this headroom was made during the winter which was incredibly warm.
Overall The Autumn should be near normal for temperatures and precipitation. Cooler and very wet weather in September is likely to change to a warmer and slightly drier pattern as early as Late September. With possible warm and dry periods before that. The fall could be a little of the cool and wet side for southwestern Alberta while the northwest warms up and dries out into October.
September:Slightly cooler than normal and very wet in the western part of the province, near normal temperatures and near normal- wet over the remainder of the province.
Sept 1-15: Mild and very humid for the time of year. Very wet. Some days might be reach 25C. High thunderstorm activity
Sept 15-30: Becoming drier and warmer overall. Severe thunderstorm still a likelihood.
Oct: Warmer than normal with slightly below normal rainfall/snowfall. Severe thunderstorms possible as late as thanksgiving. Unusual warmth around Halloween.
November: Closer to normal overall, drier. Very warm and drier to start the month, At some point Mid to late month strong cold and snow should move in, the onset could be very rapid.
Congratulations goes to our fellow chaser Matt Melnyk for his recent exposure and his ongoing contributions that bring awareness about severe thunderstorms to the general public.
Matt was recently featured on CBC for aerial photos he took while flying past a severe thunderstorm near Yorkton Saskatchewan that produced a tornado on July 31st 2016.
Recently busy with his career Matt has returned with a vengeance. He has brought with him his legendary lightning photography and the unique perspectives he can get.