A warm and wet July, but as warm as Needles?

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If you read my last article you might remember that I was originally going to take a look back at the weather across Alberta over the last few months, but problems with Environment Canada’s data feed prevented me from doing so. Since then I have been able to poke around a little bit, and I managed to piece together a pretty good picture of what has transpired.

Before we move on to this, in the last issue I looked at some of the unique weather events around the world over the last month or two. Well, one more unique record-setting weather event has occurred since then.

According to Weather Underground, on Monday, Aug. 13 the temperature in Needles, California soared to 47.8 C, which tied the record high for that date. The unusual record-setting weather event occurred that afternoon when a thunderstorm moved into Needles and rain began to fall when the temperature outside was a remarkable 46.1 C. With humidity levels only at 11 per cent, most of the rain evaporated and only a trace amount was recorded at ground level, but enough fell to make this the hottest rain ever recorded on Earth!

The previous record occurred in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 5 of this year, when a rainshower was observed at 43 C. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground points out that it is rare to see rain when temperatures rise about 38 C, since high temperatures such as these usually require high-pressure systems and sinking air, which discourage rainfall.

Cool spring

Now on to our look at Alberta’s weather over the last few months. According to Environment Canada, spring across most of Alberta was colder than average, with the Edmonton region seeing temperatures in April and May that were around 1.0° below the long-term average.

Farther south, around Calgary, it was a little warmer, with average daytime highs coming in only 0.2 C below the long-term average. Precipitation during April and May was a story of north versus south. Northern regions saw relatively light amounts of rain, with the Edmonton region seeing less-than-average amounts. In the south things were pretty wet, with the Calgary region seeing above-average amounts in both April and May.

The month of June, which is the transition month from spring to summer, saw warm overall temperatures, especially over northern regions. During June, the region around Edmonton saw average daily temperatures that were a good 1.0 C above average. These above-average temperatures did not bring much rain with them, as precipitation amounts in June remained well below average.

In the south, temperatures continued to run around average with Calgary reporting a mean monthly temperature that was only 0.1 C below average. Rainfall was the big story during June in the Calgary region, as some areas reported over 150 mm of rain, which is around double the usual amount for the month.

In July temperatures really warmed up, at least compared to long-term averages. While the month of July didn’t have any really sweltering hot days — both Edmonton and Calgary saw only one day warmer than 30 C — temperatures were consistently warm during the day and at night. By the end of the month nearly every place I checked had a mean monthly temperature that was at least 2.0 C above the long-term monthly average.

Precipitation amounts in July reversed from what was seen in June. Southern regions saw things dry out, with general rainfall amounts running a good 30 mm below average. Over northern regions July was a wet month, with most areas reporting rainfall amounts that were 10 to 25 mm above average.

The one region that kind of followed its own tune during this whole period was the northern Peace River district. When I looked at the data for this region I found that for the most part, it has had a warm and dry spring and summer.

As of last week August seemed to be following in July’s footsteps, but we’ll have to wait and see just how the second half of the month turns out.

In the next issue we’ll take a look ahead to see what the different long-range weather models are predicting for us this fall.

About the author

AF Contributor

Daniel Bezte

Daniel Bezte is a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the University of Winnipeg. He operates a computerized weather station near Birds Hill Park, Manitoba.

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