GFM Network News


In 2013, flooding in Medicine Hat displaced 8,000 people, hit nearly 3,000 properties, and nearly topped the Trans Canada bridge over the the South Saskatchewan River. Since then, the province has conducted 13 river hazard studies to produce new and replacement flood mapping for over 1,300 kilometres of river in the province. Another 18 such projects are now underway.

Mapping projects to aid emergency planning

Province and Ottawa funding 18 more projects under the National Disaster Mitigation Program

More Alberta communities are getting new and replacement flood mapping to support emergency response and long-term planning. The federal government is providing $8.7 million through the National Disaster Mitigation Program for 18 projects. They include new or replacement flood mapping for Drumheller, Medicine Hat, Siksika Nation, Red Deer, and more than 100 kilometres of the […] 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

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


Crop conditions, harvest operations below five-year average

Alberta crop conditions as of August 14, 2018

General rainfall happened across a large area from northwestern parts of the Central Region to the North West and North East Regions, with precipitation from five to 50 mm, bringing needed moisture to the fields after a spell of hot and dry conditions. Precipitation in the Peace Region varied from spotty showers to an inch […] 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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this growing season compared to historical values. It continues to be a dry start to the growing season across nearly 
all of Manitoba and much of Saskatchewan, with wide areas reporting values that are very low to extremely low. 


Diving a little deeper into summer weather and tornadoes

Tornadoes are nearly impossible to study but we do know a lot 
about the mechanics of how they form

In this instalment, we’ll continue our look at severe thunderstorms, and specifically, the most deadly part — tornadoes. While eastern parts of the Prairies have only seen a few isolated severe thunderstorms, parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta have already seen their fair share. I think most Canadians were more than impressed, and maybe a little bit […] Read more

This map shows the amount of precipitation compared to average that fell across the Prairies over the 30-day period ending on May 25. It continues to be a tale of east versus west, with most of Alberta reporting average to above-average amounts, while in Manitoba amounts have been well below average. In Saskatchewan, southern and eastern regions have been dry while northern sections have been wet.

Tornado season is upon us — here’s what to watch for

The area between the storm and cloud, clouds with bags hanging from them, and the wind are keys in spotting the danger

So far in our look at severe summer weather, and in particular thunderstorms, we have looked at how thunderstorms form, how they can grow into severe thunderstorms, and finally, how hail is produced. Next up on the severe thunderstorm list is tornadoes! Before we begin our look at tornadoes though, I think we have to […] Read more