GFM Network News

This map shows the amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this growing season as a percentile. The wettest region is around Edmonton, with precipitation amounts falling into the 90th to 100th percentiles. The driest areas are in southern Alberta and central Manitoba, with some areas seeing values as low as the 10th to 
20th percentiles.

Even in summer it’s cold up there — and that’s good

Reading Time: 4 minutes Last issue, we looked at how precipitation forms in warm clouds. But in reality, most of our summertime precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which primarily consist of cold clouds, so we’ll take a look at what cold clouds are and how precipitation forms in them. In general, a cold cloud is one that has at least […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies during the first half of September. After a dry summer, central and eastern Manitoba along with northern agricultural Saskatchewan and the northern half of Alberta received some significant precipitation. These regions saw anywhere from 25 to more than 50 millimetres, providing some much-needed soil moisture.

An early spring provided a longer- than-average frost-free season

Many parts of Alberta saw earlier-than-usual fall frosts but had a pretty decent frost-free period

Reading Time: 3 minutes Every year around this time the weather discussion begins to centre around the first fall frost. Some years, like when we see an early-fall frost, this topic is at the forefront of conversations. This year, if you live in Alberta or Saskatchewan then there is a good chance that you’ve already seen your first fall frost […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this agricultural year (which runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31) compared to historical amounts. Most regions have seen near-average amounts of precipitation, with only a few small pockets in south-central Alberta and Manitoba receiving below average. Wet areas were found along the northern edges and in southeastern Saskatchewan.

Why Alberta gets more than its fair share of hail

The number or size of thunderstorms is less important than how close the freezing layer is to the ground

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s time to continue our series of articles on different types of severe summer weather. I like to re-examine these topics every year or two due to the importance of understanding the different types of severe weather, and also because most people find this aspect of weather so fascinating. In this issue we are going to […] Read more

Thunderstorms are powerful events in their own right, but Mother Nature has the ability to add things to the mix to make them even worse.

Mother Nature’s recipe for making very severe thunderstorms

There are some key ingredients that (usually) are 
needed to create a truly wicked summer storm

Reading Time: 3 minutes As the heat continues to build across the Prairies, the chances for thunderstorms have also increased. We began our look at thunderstorm fundamentals that lead to garden-variety thunderstorms. But while these types of thunderstorms are fun to watch, we all know how quickly they can turn into severe thunderstorms. A couple of weeks ago we […] Read more

In summer, Mother Nature starts cooking up thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are one of the most fascinating weather events and it helps to know how they’re made

Reading Time: 4 minutes As spring begins to transition into summer, I like to revisit what I find to be one of the most interesting weather topics — thunderstorms. As temperatures begin to climb and moisture (hopefully) begins to flow northwards, the ingredients come together to develop thunderstorms. So far this year we haven’t seen much thunderstorm activity, but as […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that fell across the Prairies during the 30-day period ending on April 26. You 
can quickly see that it has been very dry across much of the Prairies, with only the far western parts of Alberta seeing any significant precipitation.

If you like cold, the first half of April delivered in spades

Most forecasts predicted it would be chilly, but they’re 
split on what May and June have in store for us

Reading Time: 3 minutes After dealing with a cold and snowy March, most of us across the Prairies were hoping for a little better weather in April. Just how good or bad you saw April’s weather depends on what you wanted. For example, the cross-country skiers were more than happy in my region as the cold start to the month […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far in 2018 as a per cent of the long-term average. You can see that it has been a dry start to the year across most of agricultural Manitoba and north-central Alberta. Elsewhere, precipitation has been near to above average.

The numbers are in and, baby, it was cold this winter

A cold snap that started in February and continued through March made for a long and chilly winter

Reading Time: 3 minutes Yet another month has come and gone, and for most of us across the Prairies, March 2018 was not one we really care to remember. After a warm start to 2018 that saw January temperatures averaging from 1 C to 3 C above the long-term average across all three Prairie provinces, cold weather moved in […] Read more

Long-range forecasts for April and June from the CFS weather model. April is expected to be cooler than average for much of Alberta and Saskatchewan, while June's forecast is for warmth right across the Prairies.

Bezte: What the weather forecasters predict for this spring

As usual, you wouldn’t want to bet the farm on these 
predictions but it’s always fun to see who comes closest

Reading Time: 3 minutes By an overwhelming amount, the No. 1 question I’ve had over the last couple of weeks is what will the spring be like? While I usually wait until the end of the month to do the look-ahead forecast, I will use this article to go through each of the medium- and long-range forecasts to see what they […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this growing season (April 1 to Aug. 27). You can see just how dry it has been this year across the southern and central Prairies. A large part of this region has seen less than 250 millimetres over this five-month period, with large parts of Saskatchewan and southwestern Alberta seeing less than 200 millimetres. The only ‘wet’ area is in northwestern Saskatchewan and 
north-central Alberta where precipitation amounts are in the 400- to 500-millimetre range.

There are extreme rains, and then the deluge caused by Harvey

Some parts of Texas received more rain in 24 hours than 
Prairie centres have seen in their wettest-ever month

Reading Time: 2 minutes As fairly quiet weather continues across the Prairies, the big weather story recently has been Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore in Texas late on Aug. 26. Harvey rapidly strengthened in the 12-hour period leading up to landfall and came ashore as a borderline Category 4 hurricane, with top winds of 210 kilometres per hour. It wasn’t […] Read more

This map is rather interesting as it shows the average date when the maximum temperature for the year occurs throughout the United States and Canada. On the Prairies, you can see that the main grassland region typically experiences the warmest temperatures of the year in late July and early August. Farther north the warmest temperatures occur in mid- to late July.

The physics of lightning and why ‘if it roars, go indoors’ is good advice

Tornadoes, wind, and hail grab the headlines but it’s lightning 
that typically poses the biggest danger

Reading Time: 3 minutes To wrap up our look at severe thunderstorms, we’re going to revisit how lightning is thought to form and then take a look at some lightning facts and safety tips. Tornadoes, wind, and hail often make the headlines when it comes to thunderstorms, but it is lightning that is often the biggest threat. For this […] Read more