AlbertaWX is a group of chasers and spotters based in central Alberta.
We were pretty close with our spring 2018 forecast with the colder and wetter season, We also got close with the timing of the rapid warm up. By the end of April temperatures peaked in the high 20s. May finished off as either the warmest on record or in the top 3.
The consensus on summer 2018 is that it could be significantly hotter than later year.
Overall summer is expected to be much hotter than normal, with relatively less strong heat along the foothills in addition to closer to normal rainfall. The northern part of the province could be extremely dry in July and August. Temperatures potentially flying past the 35°C degree mark. Thunderstorm activity could be the lowest in a decade for East Central and Northern Alberta. More elevated convective activity can be expected in the northern foothills.
June: The closest to normal month of Summer 2018, A modest amount of rainfall and near normal temperatures overall for the first 2 or 3 weeks but growing hot toward the end of the month. Thunderstorm activity will be low save for a few outbreaks mid month.
July: Becoming very hot, especially in the 2nd half of the month. Temperatures could surpass 35°C in many areas and near 40°C in the south. The foothills should be able to stay clear of that mark Red Deer being the largest city to avoid passing 35°C. Rainfall could be nearly zero in the some parts of the province.
August: Very hot conditions continue or amplify. Temperatures could surpass 35°C in Edmonton(esp Blatchford) and Calgary. A break in the drought conditions. A note is that Edmonton surpassed 35°C in 1998 and in 2008. Dense forest fire smoke might prevent such extreme heat much like it did last year and in 2015 (we have a post about that from last year).
Thunderstorm forecast: Summer 2018 has the potential to be the quietest in a decade due the a lack of moisture and persistent ridging. However the northern foothills could see an active storm season which could spark copious forest fires.
Overall we are seeing a cooler and wetter spring overall in Alberta. With a rapid warm up as early as late April.
Winter was colder and near to wetter than average and these conditions are likely to continue at least half way into spring.
March(very cold and wet): March was so winter like I’m going to go and say it counts more as part of the Winter.
April(cold and wet): Cold and wet for most of the province, the exception being the more northern regions being slightly drier than normal. Major snowstorms will track across the province maintaining the winter look for much of the month.
May(Warm and wet): First signs of both spring and summer, Rapid temperature rise will likely make spring 2018 very very short weather wise. An example year would be 2013. This also spells worry as the snows at higher elevations will likely stay until the heavier June moisture builds. The quick increase in temperature and late arrival of warm temperatures should keep the fire risk way down. Flood risk very high
June(warm and wet): Short, but intense startup to the thunderstorm season sparked by high heat and humidity. Very high flood risk. Higher than normal humidity.
Most seasonal models show a large ridge of high pressure stamping down on thunderstorm activity as the summer heats up. Long periods of hot,dry and storm-less weather in July, August, and September. Summer may turn out much drier than normal even after early moisture
Last night while flying from Toronto to Calgary at 38,000 feet. Taken by AlbertaWX member Matt Melnyk.
After a fall that averaged near to above normal quenched by November cold and snow. Winter 2017/18 is likely to have even more temperature swings, more than we saw last year with swings from the minus 30s to near the all time highs in mere weeks.
Winter should finish off with near to below normal temperatures and generally lower snowfall outside of the rocky mountains and foothills.
The Main factor in play this season is a moderate La Nina, and favors below normal temperatures but may be moderated by other factors such as the AO, PDO, and NAO
While December is very mild; January will likely see the coldest temperatures of the season, possibly into February and the stubborn cold May linger well into March making for a late spring.
December: Well above normal temperatures and very dry. A small amount of snow might save Edmonton and Calgary from a brown Christmas. It may only be 5cm or so but it’s enough to make Christmas white
January: Very cold at times, remaining dry.
February: chance of a thaw but overall near to colder than normal. Snowfall close to normal.
Real significant snowfall might not come until February or March as the dominant air masses in play are very low in moisture content.
The risk of blizzards is higher than a normal winter as the chance of high winds is higher.
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.
Thick smoke blots out the sun over a large portion of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
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
Withered grass and trees along Gaetz Ave in Red Deer.
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.
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.