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.