the winner Forecast that April’s weather would jump back and forth proved to be accurate
In our last issue we began discussing thunderstorms and severe weather. I was planning on continuing with that theme for this issue, but I think that will have to wait as another month has come to an end, which means it is time for us to take a look back at April 2012 weather and then look ahead to see just what the weather for May might be like.
Looking back at April’s weather, I would say it was a month that gave most Albertans a little bit of everything. The month started off fairly warm, with high temperatures making it into the mid-teens by the 3rd, but then the weather did a quick about face, and by the 5th, a number of locations had seen upwards of five to 10 cm of heavy, wet snow!
This cycle continued — temperatures once again warmed into the mid- to upper teens less than a week later, and then these warm temperatures were followed by another good dump of snow. This time the amounts were a little heavier, with large areas seeing between 10 and 20 cm. Cool weather continued for the next week or so before summer decided to make an appearance. By the 22nd and 23rd, temperatures across much of southern and central Alberta soared into the 20s and even the low 30s, as records were broken at several locations. These warm temperatures were once again followed by cooler conditions, but this time, instead of snow, most areas saw some significant rains to end off the month.
When it was all added up, temperatures in April came in a little above the long-term average over southern areas, while central and northern regions were right around average. For southern regions this continues a long trend of above-average monthly temperatures. The Calgary region has now seen 10 months in a row with above-average temperatures. It was June of last year when this region last experienced a colder-than-average month.
Precipitation during April came in well above average in most areas of Alberta, with the exception of eastern regions. Calgary recorded around 53 mm, which is a good 30 mm above the long-term average. Farther north things were just as wet, with places like Lloydminster reporting around 60 mm of precipitation and High Level reporting around 42 mm.
This leads us to our big question, what will May’s weather be this year? Well, before we look at that, let’s look back and see who was able to come closest to predicting April’s temperatures and precipitation. It appears that my forecast was closest as I called for near- to above-average temperatures along with near-average precipitation. I even went as far as saying that April’s weather would jump back and forth between mild conditions and cool snaps, exactly what happened. Heck, even I can guess right sometimes!
OK, now the million-dollar question, what kind of weather can we expect for this critical weather month of May? According to Environment Canada, southeastern areas will see above-average temperatures, with the rest of the province experiencing near-average temperatures. Southern and western regions will see below-average precipitation, while central and northeastern regions will see near-average precipitation.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is sounding like a broken record with its prediction of below-average temperatures and precipitation, which is something it’s been predicting for months now. Over at the Canadian Farmers Almanac it seems to be leaning towards a cool start to the month, then a mild period in the middle, followed by a cold end to the month, which will average out to a cooler-than-average month. Along with the cooler conditions it is also calling for plenty of unsettled weather, along with the chance for some heavy rain during May, which to me, translates into above-average precipitation.
Finally, here at Alberta Farmer, I am calling for near-average temperatures over the northern half of the province, with near- to slightly below-average temperatures over southern regions. The cooler-than-average conditions over southern regions will also be accompanied by above-average precipitation. Farther north it will be a little drier, with near-average precipitation expected.