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Warm And Dry Or Cold And Wet?

Last week we took an early look at the summer weather of 2011. This week we’ll review the final numbers for August, then peer ahead to see what might be shaping up weather-wise for September and the rest of the fall.

We have to go back eight years to find an August that was as warm as this one. Back in 2003 we had a very similar August, at least in the temperature department. While August 2011 will not go down in the record books as the hottest August on record, it was still pretty darned warm.

The Brandon region, while missing out on some of the really big heat, still managed to have a warm month. The mean monthly temperature for August in Brandon came in at 19.2 C, which is 1.2 C above its long-term average.

As you moved east things really got warm. In the Winnipeg region, the month started off warm and then got really hot. By the time the 23rd rolled around, the temperature was peaking out in the 37-38 C range. Temperatures this warm have not been seen in this region since June 17, 1995, when the temperature topped out at 37.8 C. To find the last +38 C day you’d need to go back to August 1989. When all the hot days were added up, the mean monthly temperature for the month came in at 20.3 C, which is 1.8 C above average

Precipitation during August was meagre, at best, across most regions. While some thunderstorms did bring significant rains, these storms tended to be small and short lived. Over western regions it was a very dry month, with Brandon recording only 5.4 mm of rain, well below its long-term average of 69.2 mm. This 5.4 mm came close to beating the record for Brandon’s driest August ever, which occurred in 1961, when only 2.8 mm of rain fell. The Winnipeg region wasn’t much wetter. One small thunderstorm hit Winnipeg on the 16th, dropping around 21 mm of rain. With a total of 37.5 mm for the entire month, this storm made up over half the month’s rainfall. The 37.5 mm of rain received at Winnipeg in August was well short of the average of 75.1 mm.

WHO CALLED IT?

So, overall, August was warmer and drier than average, and looking back at the predictions for the month,

it appears we have a tie. TheCanadian Farmers’ Almanacand we here at the Co-operatorboth called for above-average temperatures and below-average amounts of precipitation.

Looking ahead to September, after a rather cool and wet start to the month, will we see a return to warm, dry weather, or has there been a change in the weather pattern and will the cool, wet weather stick around? According to Environment Canada, September is going to continue where August left off: warm and dry. The folks over at theOld Farmer’s Almanac are singing from the same book as EC, and are also calling for a warmer-and drier-than- average August. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to call for near-average

temperatures, as it mentions “fair” and “pleasant” fairly often. It also looks like September, according to theCFA,will be wetter than average, with several mentions of thunderstorms and rain. Here at theCo-operator I am sticking with the status quo of warmer-and drier-than- average conditions to continue through much of September.

If we look further ahead, EC calls for warm, dry weather to continue right through the fall and into early winter. Things are not as rosy over at theOld Farmer’s Almanac.It calls for the dry weather to continue, but for temperatures to cool off starting in October and then getting down rightcold for November. TheCanadian Farmers’ Almanacpaints an even more depressing picture. Its forecast appears to call for colder-than-average temperatures for both October and November, along with above-average amounts of precipitation, with snow moving in for Remembrance Day.

Finally, here at the Co-operator,I am a little torn between the two different forecasts. A number of indicators point toward a continuation of the warmer-than-average temperatures and dry conditions right through into the winter. Part of me says this pattern will eventually have to come to an end, which will likely mean a switch to cold, wet weather. I think I’ll have to go with the scientific part of me this time and stick with a call for warmer-than-average temperatures along with dry conditions to continue.

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WhileAugust2011willnotgodownin therecordbooksasthehottestAuguston record,itwasstillprettydarnedwarm.

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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