Climatological fall began on Sept. 1 and almost to the day, that is when our string of almost three months of above-average temperatures came to an end across Manitoba. So, as we head into fall, the questions are: 1) Just how nice was this past summer? and 2) What kind of weather should we expect this fall and winter?
Well, I can answer the first question: it was a really nice summer. Just kidding, more on that shortly. As for the second question, we should be able to get a fairly good idea of what the fall weather will be like; as for winter, we will take a look, but I wouldn’t get too excited or upset just yet.
Who called it?
Looking back at August across agricultural Manitoba, all three locations recorded a mean monthly temperature that was above average. Dauphin was the hot spot (compared to average), with a mean temperature that was 1.0 C above the long-term average. Both Brandon and Winnipeg came in at 0.6 C above average. In terms of absolute temperatures, Winnipeg was the warmest, with a mean temperature of 19.4 C; Dauphin came in second with 18.7 C, and Brandon reported 18.3 C.
August was a little wetter overall when compared to July. Dauphin was the wettest, with 105 mm of rainfall, over 40 mm above average. Winnipeg and Brandon both reported right around 60 mm in August, around 10 mm below average. Overall, this means August came in a little warmer than average, with near- to above-average rainfall. Looking back at the predictions, it looks like the two almanacs get the winning nod for being the closest, with forecasts of near-average temperatures and near- to above-average precipitation.
Looking back at the whole summer across our region, if you thought it was a warm one, then you were right. All three of the centres I use reported mean summer temperatures that averaged right around 1.2 C above average. What was a little unusual, but nice, was that we didn’t see large swings in temperature this summer. There were no prolonged cold spells and only a few extreme heat waves — thus the above-average temperatures. Precipitation was a little more varied, with western regions seeing above-average rainfall thanks to some heavy thunderstorms, while central and parts of eastern regions received below-average rainfall. Depending on when you saw rainfall and just what you were doing this summer, for most people it was a pretty nice summer.
OK, now on to the fall and winter forecasts, starting off with the almanacs. The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for above-average temperatures for both September and October, with near-average precipitation in both months. The above-average temperatures and near-average precipitation continue into November and December before below-average temperatures and precipitation move in by January. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to call for cooler- and wetter-than-average conditions for both September and October as it mentions cool and chilly weather several times along with unsettled, showery and squally weather. For the winter, its general forecast calls for colder- and snowier-than-average weather.
Now, on to the different computer-based long-range forecasts. Starting with NOAA, which I have to extrapolate northward as it conveniently blanks out Canada; it looks like it calls for slightly above-average temperatures and near-average precipitation this fall, trending toward near-average temperatures and above-average precipitation as we move into winter. The next weather model, the CFS, calls for a cooler-than-average September followed by a very warm October. Both months are expected to see near- to above-average amounts of precipitation. The model then shows us sandwiched between cooler-than-average conditions to our north and warmer than average to our south from November to January, placing us in the near-average zone. Along with the average temperatures, the model is forecasting near-average amounts of precipitation.
The final weather model I am going to look at is CanSIPS, the Canadian model. It currently calls for a cool and dry September followed by a warmer-than-average October with near-average precipitation. The warmer-than-average temperatures are then expected to continue in November, December and January with a slow trend toward near-average temperatures. Precipitation is forecast to be near average in November, above average in December and back to near average for January.
As for my forecast, your guess is as good as mine. My gut is leaning toward the CanSIPS model with a cool September followed by a return to warmer-than-average conditions right through to January, with near- to slightly below-average precipitation. Now, as usual, it’s time to sit back and see what curveballs Mother Nature will throw at us this year.