Consistent July temperatures across the Prairies

As summer begins to wind down, let’s take a look at the month that was

Well, believe it or not, another month has come and gone, and depending where you are across the Prairies, and what type of weather you like best, July was either a great month or just too darned wet!

So, it is time to once again look back at just what transpired weather-wise across the Prairies during the past month and then peer ahead to see what the rest of the summer might have in store for us. We’ll even take our first look at the start of fall, that’s right, the start of fall.

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Let us dive right into it, beginning in the west. Looking at temperature and precipitation patterns across Alberta in July, it turns out that it was an average month temperature-wise across all three regions (Calgary, Edmonton, and Peace River). In fact, mean monthly temperatures were remarkably similar given the huge geographical area covered, with both Calgary and Edmonton reporting a temperature of 16.3 C, and you might as well lump Peace River in with them with a reading of 16.2 C. Precipitation, as you can see in this map, was more variable. Calgary reported near-average amounts, Edmonton just slightly below average, and Peace River above average. If we were to look at total accumulations, the area to the west of Edmonton had the highest amounts with some locations recording more than 150 mm. Overall, not the worst month, but not the best either across most areas, especially considering just how wet several locations were in June.

Now on to Saskatchewan. As with Alberta, mean monthly temperatures were fairly consistent, with Regina reporting a temperature of 18.4 C and Saskatoon coming in at 18.9 C. This places Saskatoon a little bit above average for the month with Regina coming in a little below average. Looking at precipitation it was a reverse of the temperatures, with Saskatoon coming in slightly below average and Regina reporting slightly above-average amounts. Not too bad of a month for most areas of Saskatchewan in July, except for the northwest part of the agricultural region, which saw way too much rain.

Finally, on to Manitoba, which turned out to be the hot spot across the Prairies in July. As with Alberta and Saskatchewan, temperatures were fairly consistent across all three regions, with Dauphin reporting a mean monthly temperature of 20.4 C, Brandon 20.0 C, and Winnipeg 20.9 C. These temperatures ranged from 1.2 to nearly 2.0 C above the long-term average for July. Precipitation was variable, with some regions reporting above-average amounts while other areas were dry. Looking just at the three main stations, both Brandon and Dauphin reported near- to slightly below-average amounts, while the Winnipeg region was well-below average. Just like the other two provinces it depends where you were as to whether it was a great month or a poor one. For me, living just northeast of Winnipeg, if I wasn’t able to water, my gardens would be in rough shape. If you spent time visiting cottage country around Lake Winnipeg, then it was a great month.

So, across the Prairies, July 2020 turned out to have near-average temperatures across western regions, transitioning to above average in the east. Precipitation was all over the place in each province, but most areas saw near- to above-average amounts. How did the actual weather compare to the different long-range forecasts? Looking back, it looks like both the CanSIPS and the CFS models did the best job with their predictions of near-average temperatures with the best chance of above average in the east and below average in the west, along with near- to above-average rainfall. I could also include myself in this, but I just agreed with those forecasts.

Looking ahead to August and September, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for average temperatures, but wet conditions in August followed by a warm and dry September. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to be calling for near-average temperatures in August with near- to above-average rainfall, followed by a cool, wet September as it mentions unsettled and cool several times.

Looking at the weather models, the CFS model is calling for cooler-than-average temperatures across eastern and southern regions with near- to below-average rainfall in August. Temperatures rebound to above average in September with above-average rainfall. The CanSIPS model is calling for near- to below-average temperatures in August with above-average rainfall, followed by near-average temperatures and precipitation in September.

Finally, my throw at the long-range weather dartboard comes up with near-average temperatures across the east and above-average in the west for both months. Precipitation will continue to be spotty, but overall, rainfall will be near average in both August and September. Now it is time to see how things play out.

About the author

Co-operator contributor

Daniel Bezte

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

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