Our un­usu­ally wet sum­mer fol­lows un­usu­ally dry spring

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - DY­LAN SHORT

Mother na­ture has not been kind to Ed­mon­to­ni­ans this year, as num­bers from En­vi­ron­ment Canada show the city just ex­pe­ri­enced its dri­est spring and one of its wettest sum­mers on record.

Kyle Fougere, me­te­o­rol­o­gist with En­vi­ron­ment Canada, said there were 55 days of rain recorded at the Ed­mon­ton-blatchford weather sta­tion through the months of June, July and Au­gust, the sec­ond most in 138 years, when weather data was first recorded in the area.

“The most that they’ve ever had was 59 days, and I think that was 1996,” said Fougere. “So the sec­ond most rainy days in Ed­mon­ton, and then when you look at ac­tual amounts, there were 331 mil­lime­tres this year. In a nor­mal sum­mer there’s 233 mil­lime­tres, so that would rank it as the eighth wettest of the 138 years.”

Of those months, July had the most rainy days with 21, a record for that month. De­spite so­cial me­dia re­ports that Au­gust also had the most rainy days in the city’s his­tory, Fougere said the last month of sum­mer ac­tu­ally recorded 17 days, rank­ing 12th high­est on record.

The wet sum­mer was in di­rect con­trast to Ed­mon­ton’s spring, which was the dri­est on record. The cap­i­tal only re­ceived 25.9 mil­lime­tres of pre­cip­i­ta­tion be­tween the be­gin­ning of March and the end of May, com­pared to an an­nual av­er­age of 88.2 mil­lime­tres.

Ed­mon­ton wasn’t the only part of the prov­ince to ex­pe­ri­ence unusual weather.

Fougere said Fort Mc­mur­ray had its third-wettest sum­mer in terms of amount of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, while Medicine Hat ex­pe­ri­enced drought-like con­di­tions for most of the sum­mer.

“High Level, Ed­mon­ton and Lloy­d­min­ster all had their dri­est spring on record,” said Fougere.

“High Level re­ceived only 2.1 mm of pre­cip­i­ta­tion dur­ing those months, com­pared to an av­er­age of 67 mm.”

Un­like Ed­mon­ton, High Level’s dry spring was fol­lowed by a dry sum­mer.

The north­ern Al­berta com­mu­nity was evac­u­ated ear­lier this year due to wild­fires in the area.

Ex­perts have said that ear­lier, drier springs at­trib­uted to cli­mate change are help­ing to fuel those fires.

Mov­ing for­ward, Fougere said Ed­mon­ton is ex­pected to con­tinue to re­ceive above av­er­age pre­cip­i­ta­tion lev­els.

He did, how­ever, say there is a sil­ver lin­ing in those fore­casts, point­ing out fall is one of the hardest times of the year to pre­dict weather.

Fougere said it is dif­fi­cult to tell if 2019’s unusual weather is a pre­cur­sor for fu­ture years, not­ing the past two years had be­low-av­er­age pre­cip­i­ta­tion num­bers.

For those look­ing to take in any lit­tle bit of sum­mer they pos­si­bly can, this week­end’s fore­cast shows prom­ise, with warm and sunny tem­per­a­tures ex­pected on Thurs­day, Fri­day and through to Saturday.

LARRY WONG

Ed­mon­to­ni­ans have spent much of the sum­mer hud­dled un­der um­brel­las af­ter en­dur­ing arid con­di­tions through­out the spring.

DAVID BLOOM

Pedes­tri­ans with um­brel­las make their way along 102 Street Mon­day on another rainy day in the city.

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