Author Archives: Mike R

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.

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“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.

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.

 

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.

Spring 2017 forecast. Late and wild.

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.

Spring 2017:

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:

  • While much more tame than last year the fire risk in the north will be elevated by early May, smoldering fires from last year might flare up.
  • Flood risk is higher than last year in southern Alberta, lingering cold up until May will delay the big melt considerably, any major storms that roll through in June could trigger flooding along riverbanks.
  • As one would expect the thunderstorm season might be late to start.
  • Beyond the spring most season models point to a hotter and more humid summer.
  • Some close years to 2017 so far would be 2013, 2007, 2006, and 2002.

Winter 2016/17 Forecast: Brutally cold

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.

November 2016 Forecast: Indian summer!

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