Well, another month has come and gone as the world around us slowly begins a transition back toward normalcy. The end of the month means it’s time to take a look back, then peer forward to see what the next month or two may have in store for us, at least weather-wise. So, we’ll take a break from our annual look at thunderstorms and pull out the old crystal ball.
There is no way around it — May was a cold month, and even the warm temperatures near the end of the month couldn’t overcome the cold first two weeks. While our planet appears to be on a trajectory toward another record-warm year, here in central North America we just don’t seem to want to play along, at least up until now (hint, hint). Looking back at the mean monthly temperatures across the Prairies in May, all the major reporting centres came in below average.
Starting in Alberta, the mean monthly temperatures at Calgary, Edmonton and Peace River all came in around 1.2 C below the long-term average. Across Saskatchewan it was a little warmer compared to average, with Saskatoon reporting a mean monthly temperature that was 0.7 C below average. Regina was the Prairie hot spot with a mean monthly temperature for May coming in just 0.2 C below average.
In our own backyard, we ended up falling in between Alberta and Saskatchewan, temperature-wise. Winnipeg was the cold spot compared to average, coming in at 0.9 C below average. Dauphin was a little warmer, with a reading 0.7 C below average, and Brandon was the warmest, coming in at 0.5 C below average.
Precipitation in May was the tale of Alberta versus the rest of the Prairies. Alberta had a wet May, with both Edmonton and Calgary coming in between 10 and 30 mm above average. The Peace region missed out on the heavier precipitation, coming in around 15 mm below average. This dry pattern over northern Alberta extended eastward, with Regina coming in nearly 40 mm below average, but Saskatoon bucked the trend thanks to a 30-mm, 24-hour rain event that bumped its monthly total to right around average. Across Manitoba it was, for the most part, very dry, with readings ranging from 25 mm below average in Dauphin to nearly 50 mm below average in Brandon. As this week’s weather graphic shows, there were a few locations that saw near- to even slightly above-average rainfall thanks to some slow-moving thunderstorms.
Who called it?
To summarize May, I would say it was colder than average right across the Prairies, with wet conditions across the west and dry conditions in the east. Looking back at the May forecasts, the winning nod goes to me! It has been awhile, but I’m finally back on top; even though my forecast wasn’t bang on, it was the best of a bunch of bad forecasts. I called for near- to slightly below-average temperatures along with near- to slightly above-average precipitation. All the other forecasts were leaning toward near- to above-average temperatures.
Now, on to June’s and July’s outlooks, beginning, as usual, with the almanacs. The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for a warm and wet June followed by a slightly warmer-than-average July, with slightly below-average rainfall. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to call for a wet June as it mentions unsettled, showers and thunderstorms several times. With wet weather it is usually cooler than average, but it does mention hot weather near the end of the month, so I’ll go with near-average temperatures in June. Its July outlook looks to be leaning toward above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall as it mentions hot several times, with not much talk about rainfall.
Moving on to the computer weather models: the CFS model calls for near- to slightly above-average temperatures in both June and July along with above-average rainfall. The CanSIPS model also calls for near- to slightly above-average temperatures and precipitation in both June and July. NOAA’s monthly and three-month forecast calls for near-average temperatures and precipitation with western regions (Alberta) possibly seeing slightly above-average temperatures and the southeastern corner of Manitoba having a slightly higher chance of above-average precipitation. In an article I came across, The Weather Company is predicting much above-average temperatures in June, but I couldn’t find any more information than that.
Finally, my gaze into the weather crystal ball: I’m calling for near- to above-average temperatures, along with near- to below-average precipitation. Just going on a gut feeling for this one. Let’s just hope everyone gets the type of weather they need.