The title of the weather article at the beginning of July was “July temperatures in June.” One month later, those June temperatures were surpassed in July.
I can’t really say “August temperatures in July,” as July is statistically the warmest month of the year. It was just a hot July across the Prairies — which I doubt is a surprise to anyone unless you were hiding in an air-conditioned house or apartment.
How hot was this July? All the stations that I looked at reported above-average temperatures. For many of these stations it was the hottest July in over 10 years and, for some areas, 20 or even 30 years. I personally didn’t see any record-breaking values, but this July was definitely one the top 10 warmest Julys on record for most areas.
Let’s break down the numbers starting in Alberta. All three reporting stations (Calgary, Edmonton, and Peace River) reported above-average temperatures. Calgary was the hot spot for Alberta, with a mean monthly temperature of approximately 19.3 C which is about 2.8 C warmer than average. Temperatures cooled down both absolutely and relatively as you went north. Edmonton reported a temperature of about 17.5 C which is about 1.5 C warmer than average, while Peace River reported 17.2 C which was about 1.0 C above average.
Moving into Saskatchewan, we see the centre of the ridge of high pressure that dominated July’s weather. Temperatures in Regina and Saskatoon were the warmest across the Prairies compared to average and only slightly behind Winnipeg in terms of absolute values. Regina reported a mean monthly temperature of 21.9 C with Saskatoon coming in at 21.3 C. Both values were just shy of 3.0 C above the long-term average for July.
The July heat continued into Manitoba, with Winnipeg coming in nearly tied with Regina with a mean monthly temperature of 22.0 C, which is about 2.3 C warmer than average. In western Manitoba, both Brandon and Dauphin reported mean monthly temperatures of about 20.5 C or around 2 C above average.
The lack of rainfall made these temperatures feel worse. Except for a few localized areas lucky enough to get one or even two good thunderstorms, nearly all areas across the Prairies reported below-average rainfall in July. Across Alberta, the Edmonton and Peace River regions saw rainfall deficits in the 30- to 50-millimetre (mm) range, with the Calgary region coming in about 10 mm shy of average. The very dry weather across central and northern Alberta continued into Saskatchewan with both Regina and Saskatoon reporting rainfall amounts that were between 40 and 55 mm below average. It was the same across Manitoba, if not worse, with all three regions reporting rainfall deficits of between 40 and 60 mm.
Looking back at the different forecasts, it appears that it is a three-way tie for a winner. The CFS, CanSIPS, and my forecast all called for warmer-than-average temperatures along with below-average precipitation in July.
On to the August and September weather outlooks — as usual, we’ll begin with the two almanacs. The Canadian Farmer’s Almanac appears to be calling for a warmer-than-average August. It calls for hot weather a few times along with fair and pleasant weather. It sounds like rainfall will be near to maybe even above average as it mentions thunderstorms several times. For September, it seems to be calling for near-average temperatures and precipitation as it mentions a lot of fair weather with the occasional round of thunderstorms. The Old Farmers’ Almanac is calling for a warmer- and wetter-than-average August followed by a warm and dry September.
Moving on to the weather models. NOAA is predicting a continuation of above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation. Best chances of below-average precipitation are in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with Alberta possibly seeing near-average amounts. The CFS model is calling for a warm and dry start to August with temperatures cooling towards more-average values by the end of the month. Along with the cooler temperatures will come increasing chances for rainfall, with amounts during the second half of the month coming in near to above average.
The CFS September forecast is calling for a return to warm and dry conditions. The CanSIPS model is predicting a warm and dry August followed by near-average to slightly above-average temperatures in September along with near-average rainfall.
Lastly, my interpretation of the different weather models and my own gut feeling. With a few hints of a possible switch to cooler and wetter conditions around the middle of August, I am leaning towards the CFS model. Overall, August will be warmer and drier than average, with a dry start followed by a cooler and wetter second half of the month.
September is a tough one. Nearly all signs are leaning towards a warm, dry month, but if we do see a pattern switch in late August maybe it will stick around into September. I will take the middle road and go with near-average temperatures and precipitation in September.