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.

June 21st storms in Central Alberta

Quite a line of storms passed through central Alberta prompting severe thunderstorm watches and warnings throughout the afternoon. 2 teams of AlbertaWX chasers followed the storms which caused overland flooding in the Bittern Lake region and loonie sized hail. Our two teams did not see anything in the way of tornadic activity this afternoon as shear was non-existent near Edmonton. Down by Strathmore a cold core funnel was observed where there was a bit of shear on the models.

Photo credits to AlbertaWX Chasers Chrisy, Cheemo and Mike R






Summer 2016 Forecast: A warm and humid one

After a very dry start, spring ended with more than 100mm(4 inches) of rain. A dramatic end to the severe drought conditions. The same sudden switch to cooler rainier weather seems to be common of the ENSO cycle. similar events took place in 1998,, 1988, 1983, 1973, 1966, and 1958 following strong Elnino Events. Roughly half of these events saw the rain and cool air last through the entire summer, the other 3 saw temperatures heat up through August. Another factor is the developing positive phase of the PDO, this generally promotes an active pattern. The last +pdo spanned through the 80s and 90s.

Summer 2016 temperatures should be overall slightly above to above normal. Well above normal in the extreme southern and NW part of the province. Rainfall should be near to above normal over much of the province with the exception of extreme NE and SE Alberta. A note, these anomalies overall will likely be the average of two extremes from the first to last half of the summer.

June: Temperatures near to above normal over most of the province. Extreme NW may be slightly below normal.

1-10: Hot and humid, several rounds of severe weather likely.

10-20: remaining warm and humid in eastern and southern Alberta. cooler than normal to near normal elsewhere. High thunderstorm activity in southern Alberta. Heavy rain in the elbow and to the east, lasting several days at a time.

20-30: Variable hot and cooler weather. Humid with higher risk of severe thunderstorms over most of the province. particularly in the capital region due to frequent airmass collisions.

July: Overall near normal to warmer than normal. Warmest compared to normal in the southern part of the province, potentially very hot. Rainfall becoming more near to below normal in some areas esp the NW. Very high thunderstorm activity in the central part of the province, including severe. Becoming hotter in the NW toward the end of the month.

August: Temperatures above to well above normal, rainfall below normal. Becoming very hot in the NW part of the province. This may spark a 2nd period of extreme fire risk. Extreme heat spreads into central and Southern parts of Alberta periodically. Thunderstorm activity should be far lower than the first part of summer.



May 2016 Forecast: Still under the blowtorch, but change could be coming

Hot and dry conditions remain in place as we go into May, April finished off 2-5C above normal and very dry with some parts of the province not receiving more than a millimetre or two of rainfall which is less than 10% of the normal April precip. Temperatures over much of the province managed to surpass the 25C mark and 30C in the NW part of the province. Grande Prairie set a new all time record for the month on the 18th at 29.4C(old 29.2C on Apr 25th 1977). April 2016 finished off one of the warmest in the last half century. Continuing a 4 month long string of well above normal months.

The effect of the continued warmth is a violent start to the fire season and trees are now in leaf 3 to 4 weeks early. Current long range forecasts show more near 30C heat, this time more widespread in store in May However there is an interesting similarity with other Major El Nino years, particularly ones that transition into a Moderate-Strong La Nina. The month of June during the 4 analogue years(1998,1988,1983,1973) had well above normal rainfall, in some cases nearly double the normal amount. And some of those years saw the change to that rainy period at the end of May. It is not known if this is a hallmark of an El Nino-La Nina transition or a coincidence.

May overall could be the 5th hot month in a row; with temperatures expected to be up to 5C warmer than normal in the northern Part of the province. Rainfall is likely to be below to well below normal with the exeption of parts of the south foothills and Rockies. However we are entering the convective season, so rainfall may vary dramatically from the forecast with a good thunderstorm.

May 1-10: Hot and dry. temperatures nearing 32C in eastern Alberta at times. Some potential for thunderstorms.

May 10-20:Warm with a few thunderstorms, Hot in south-eastern Alberta. Possibility of a few wetter days. Notable Chance of a thunderstorm outbreak in Central Alberta

May 20-31: Possible transition to a rainy pattern, otherwise another potential burst of heat. Severe thunderstorms begin

Below is a something I threw together showing the similarities regarding June following Major El Nino(station used, Edmonton INTL A)

Post Nino June rain.png



April 2016 outlook: Another warm month

While El Nino is now weakening fast and about to give way to La Nina in the coming months. the effects El Nino will linger for another month or two.

Overall April 2016 will be above to well above average for temperatures and dry.

April 1-10: warm, windy, and dry

April 10-20: Warm and dry, some windy days. little rain or snow

April 20-30: Warm to hot, remaining dry. Small chance of a rain or snow event as the month ends. Windy

Spring 2016 Forecast.

After a winter that at times(mid-late Dec) seemed lacking in terms of warmth for a super El Nino. The month of February took off with temperature anomalies as high as 8C above normal. While not the warmest February on record it still ranks in the top 5. Dec-Feb 2015/16 finished off warmer than that seen during the 1997/98 Elnino. The main difference is the Lack of a big January cold snap and February(and not Dec) having the very warm temperatures. By the end of the month temperatures soared to 15C as far north as Edmonton. Cold weather was isolated to 1 or 2 days at a time. “winter” as described by Canadians lasted from Mid December through to Mid January.

Spring shows the same pattern if not stronger, peaking in March and Early April.

March: Overall very warm and dry. There is the potential for top 5 warmest much like February.

March 1-10: very mild, dry, one or two cold days

March 11-20: Mild to very mild, dry with day or two of cooler weather with rain/snow.

March 21-31: Very mild. Almost summer-like in southern Alberta and dry. The early heat might trigger the first major fires of the season and a good chance of dust storms and thunderstorms throughout most of the agricultural regions of Alberta. Early arrival of allergy season

April: Warm. Remaining very dry. Fire season becomes quite active.

April 1-15: Mild to Warm, small chance of a snowfall. A few very windy days with dust storms possible. Extremely dry in some areas. Humidity could dip below 10%

April 16-30: Warm to hot: a few cooler days with rain. Early leaf out leads to rising humidity. A chance of the first Severe thunderstorm of 2016 in the province.

May: Warm to hot: closest to normal of the 3 spring months. Normal to below normal precipitation.

May 1-15: more seasonal with a chance of a heatwave or two. Dry weather broken by thunderstorms

May 15-31: Possible change to cooler and significantly wetter pattern. Severe thunderstorm outbreak potental