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AlbertaWX is a group of chasers and spotters based in central Alberta.

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Fall 2017 Forecast

After a hot, smokey and dry summer fall will continue the warm pattern but with a few breaks of colder and wetter weather. The warmest Month compared to normal will be October

The warmest anomalies should be in the Southeast part of the province. near normal in northwestern Alberta. A trough to the west and ridge to the east setup for much of the fall should beef up precip amounts and may cause similar issues to last year during harvest.

September: Near normal temperatures overall and wetter. Periods of hot and dry mixed with snowy and cold spells should equalize anomalies and Sept should finish near normal.

October: Much warmer than normal and wet. Warm weather over long periods with ample rainfall; This combo may also result in some very late season thunderstorm outbreaks. Primary areas are along the rim of the ridge including the QE2 corridor and the Yellow head corridor.

November: Warmer than normal, near normal precip. There is some uncertainty with November due to a developing La Nina event. At this point very warm temperatures at least for the first half, however the transition to winter might be slow or delayed into December.

“Hottest day of the year” smothered! BC smoke blots out the SUN!

Thick smoke blots out the sun over a large portion of Alberta and Saskatchewan.nuclearwinter.png

What was forecast to be the hottest day of 2017 was anything but that. Very thick smoke blew in from the many thousands of massive forest fires blotting out the sun for most of the day. In the worst hit area around Edmonton the sun was barely visible as a faint red dot. The temperature originally forecast to reach 33C barely got to 24C. nearly ten degrees colder!. The International airport only reached around 23C. Further south the smoke did clear off enough by early afternoon to reach the 30s. Red deer at 31C and Calgary at 32C.

Today(August 30 2017) Now stands as a prime example as summers grow hotter and drier there will be fewer hot days, that is a bit strange but it’s quite simple. The hot and dry weather leads to so many fires that the smoke blots out the sun like we saw today, cutting up to 10 degrees Celsius from the high temperature. The hot muggy days remain however because there are no evergreen forests between us and the Gulf of Mexico to ignite. No forest=No forest fire

Another unfortunate factor is that as the sun heats the smoke cloud instead of the ground, it creates a strong inversion. This kills convection and severely reduces rainfall as a result, even though the smoke provides more condensation nuclei for the raindrops. Drought conditions appear to be worsening across the province. Long range forecasts show very dry conditions lasting into the winter meaning spring 2018 will also be in severe drought, regardless of how much snow falls

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Withered grass and trees along Gaetz Ave in Red Deer.

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Parched boulevard in Red Deer

An extreme example of this effect can be seen in the small town of Camrose, Alberta, where “because of the smoke” they will set an all time record for the “hottest summer of record without hitting 30C”. Temperatures as high as they have ever got to without going over 30.0C. The smoke smothered the hottest days. Other locations have had a much warmer than normal summer but had fewer than average hot days.

The pattern is likely to continue well into the fall. While there is a good chance of 30C+ weather on multiple occasions in September; it is likely smoke will smother those days as well.

We could be dealing with this acrid smoke well into October.

Anniversary of Black Friday.

July 31st 2017 will be the 30 year anniversary of the Black Friday tornado in 1987. 27 people were killed and over 300 were injured. The first report of the tornado came from a resident of Leduc county. It cut a swath northward through Millwoods then the Strathcona industrial area and then hit the Evergreen trailer park.
I witnessed this tornado first hand as it barreled towards our window in Millwoods only to shift direction and hit the next block over. The devastation I witnessed first hand I hope to never see again. The Black friday tornado is what inspired me to become a storm chaser. I want to educate the public of the dangers of severe weather. As a result of my experiences I not only have a healthy respect for mother nature but a fascination with it as well.

– AlbertaWX chaser Ryan Keller

Our friend Brenda Hall has given us permission to post photos from the album of E.F. (Erv) Butz. Many of these photos have not been made public.

These photos are the intellectual property of Brenda Hall and her family.

Summer 2017 Forecast: Hot, humid, and stormy.

Summer 2017 Forecast:

June 4th 2017 5:30pm.

A look back at spring 2017 we can see we did well with our forecast the spring colder and wetter than normal with the exception of May which help equalize the season. Temperatures trended warmer quite quickly as we expected in early May getting near the 30C mark several times. May overall was 2-5C warmer than normal with near to well above normal precipitation. Though the extreme northern region was much drier than normal

This ample moisture will play it’s part into the summer of 2017

Overall Summer 2017 should be hot and humid over all but the most eastern sections near the SK border, The highest temperatures compared to normal are expected to be in the NW part of the province. Rainfall will be above normal along the foothills and int he Rockies promoting a higher flood risk for the major rivers. Drier than normal conditions should dominate in the northwest.

Thunderstorm activity should be higher than normal over the foothills and parts of Central and southern Alberta.

June: near to above normal temperatures over most of the province with above to well above normal rainfall in Central and Western Alberta. Thunderstorm activity will be higher than normal in parts on central and southern Alberta. There is a chance of a flood event along major rivers mid month. Main area to watch for severe weather is the southern portion of the province.

July: Dominant ridge shifts eastwards. Heat and humidity could reach warning levels at times, with humidex index exceeding 40. Temperatures could surpass 35C especially in northwestern Alberta and southern Alberta. Thunderstorms during this month could be exceptionally severe(very high TSI), areas and events to watch are the foothills, yellow head corridor west of Edmonton, and the QE2 corridor. Rainfall near to slightly below normal in southern and Central Alberta, well below normal in northern sections.

August: Cooler temperatures return with the main ridging pattern shifting back to the west. Thunderstorm activity shifts into NW Alberta as conditions turn wetter. There is likely to be extreme fire risk in that part of the province by this time. Early frost may be a concern in eastern Alberta. Main area to watch for severe weather would be the peace country, Grande Prairie area, and the northern foothills.

 

We missed it! 

Today we were prepared for chasing but we were not prepared for what happened thats for sure! Our chaser Mike Rurak was up chasing a cell in Wetaskwin county when our Alberta Emergancy alert went off. Tornado! Unfortunately it was all the way down by Three Hills Alberta. 

Here is what it looked like on Radar:

Twitter started flooding with amazing pictures including this video:

Where were we you might ask? Far away unfortunately. In fact no chaser was anywhere near this tornado. A meteorologist friend of mine referred to it as a “mesoscale accident”… I can definitely agree with that assessment. 

So anyways here is what we got from our… Less exciting storm over Mulhurst bay Alberta. 

Epic Spring Aurora Show

Chasers Mike Rurak and Ryan Keller were out and about last Sunday and mamaged to capture one of the best aurora shows they have ever witnessed. 

CTV Calgarys David Spence featured them on Tuesdays evening broadcast.

Major spring storm to track across the prairies.

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.

Details.

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.

Risks:

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.