Author Archives: Mike R

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

October 2016 could be the coldest in a decade!

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.

Fall 2016 Forecast: A bit of everything.

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.





August 2016 Forecast: Quite wet indeed!

July was near average and wet over much of central and southern Alberta. The northern Part of the province was warmer than average with and drier than normal with the exception of parts of northeastern Alberta. The wettest part compared to average was a wide band down the trans Canada highway in southern Alberta where accumulations surpassed records. This was due to day after day of never ending severe thunderstorms. The month of July was one of “stuck” weather patterns, this were pretty much the same in a given area form the majority of July.

As for August long range models(albeit somewhat in agreement) show a northward shift in the zonal jet which should shift the extreme rainfall events north as well. This pushes any warm anomaly even more north. Only the very extreme north will see above normal temperatures. Parts of the foothills may see well below normal temperatures and a high risk of early snowfall down into the valleys by the end of the month or early Sept(Deja vu 2014?) perhaps down to the major centres such as Calgary(yes I’m hinting at August snow Calgary!).


Aug 1-10: Very wet and humid in Central and Southern Alberta. Warm and dry extreme north.

Aug 10-20: Heavy rainfall over much of the province, frequent thunderstorms widespread. Warmer and drier as you go north

Aug 20-30: Very cold by August standards , snow comes early to the Rockies and foothills. There is a risk of unusually early killing frost in eastern Alberta. There is a chance of a quick shot of heat but overall cold and wet.

A quick note. A major change(possibly due to the natural Autumn variability) looks to take place sometime from mid Sept to Mid Oct and is pointing toward a very warm fall 2016. Many locations may see their highest temperatures of the year in September or October(particularly in places such as Red Deer and Rocky mountain house).


July 2016 Forecast: A July like 2010/2011

Almost every long range model seems to point toward the coolest July in years. Then again the coolest after several hot summers is not exceptional by any means, June was a degree or two warmer than normal so near to slightly cooler July will only damped the warm 2016 year. Unless august were to continue to cooler, wetter weather.

Parts of central Alberta may not see their first 30C day until August or September. Or at the very earliest late July. Essentially locations that did not already hit 30C in May or June have a potentially long wait into late summer before reaching the “mark of summer”

July is expected to finish between 3C below average(top 10 coldest on record) to about 2C above average depending on which part of the province. The far north is expected to be the warmest compared to average, and will often be the hotspot. Other warmer areas include southeastern Alberta. The coldest areas compared to average will be in west central Alberta including Drayton Valley, Red Deer, and rocky mountain house. Edmonton and Calgary should finish up near normal.

Rainfall highest in west central Alberta and along the entire length of the foothills. This includes the centres of Red Deer and Calgary.

Thunderstorm activity will be very high, even with the cooler temperatures the ample moisture should allow storms to reach severe status often over the course of July. Similar to July 2010, and July 2011.


July 1-10: Mild and stormy over most of Alberta, very humid. Severe weather almost daily. Remaining hot and dry in extreme north

July 10-20: Pattern persists. Frequent SE gulf flow leading to very high humidity and mild temperatures. Frequent storm systems. Low likelihood of sustained heat other than in the north.

July 20-31: First chance of more significant heat, Likely not much more than high 20s over the majority of the province longer than a couple days at a time. However the very high humidity could make it feel more like the upper 30s. The higher temperatures could fuel thunderstorms significantly more violent than earlier in the month.