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Warm and dry, or warm and wet?

Well, depending on where you live, May 2012 either continued the year-long trend of above-average temperatures but just barely, or the streak came to an end with a below-average May.

When we look back at May’s weather, just like April, we had a little bit of everything. The month started off around average, then summer moved in and by the second week we saw temperatures in the upper 20s for highs. The month also started off on the dry side and the worries about a potential drought began to intensify. The drought worries began to disappear around the middle of the month as thunderstorms moved through a good part of central and eastern regions, bringing much-needed rain. Around the same time, temperatures began to cool down as low pressure, clouds and showers began to dominate the weather. This cool, wet weather lasted pretty much right up to the end of the month before more summer-like conditions moved in on the 31st.

When all the numbers were added up, it appears the eastern half of southern and central Manitoba had temperatures that were right on the average, with Winnipeg reporting a mean monthly temperature of 12.2 C, which was 0.2 C above average. Farther west it was cooler and most regions ended up seeing below-average temperatures. Brandon recorded a mean monthly temperature in May of 10.8 C, which was a full degree below the long-term average.

While temperatures were near to below average in May, precipitation was near to above average. The southern third of agricultural Manitoba experienced near to slightly above average amounts of rainfall in May, with the Brandon region reporting 60.4 mm of rain — about eight millimetres above average. Farther north it was a little wetter, with the Winnipeg region reporting 98 mm of rain, nearly 40 mm above the long-term average. Farther north, in the Swan River region, they recorded precipitation amounts in the 130- to 140-mm range. So, May ended up a little on the wet side, but I don’t think anyone was really complaining. The timing was pretty close to perfect and with only the odd exception, we didn’t see any huge and fast dumps of rain like in previous years.

Who called it?

Looking back at the predictions that were made for May, it appears it is a toss-up between the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and us here at the Co-operator. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac called for below-average temperatures in May along with unsettled conditions and some heavy rain. Here at the Co-operator I called for near- to slightly-above-average temperatures, along with near- to above-average amounts of precipitation. As you can see, neither prediction was right on the money, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide who was closest to the mark.

Now, on to June’s weather prediction, along with a look further ahead to see what the rest of the summer might have in store for us. According to Environment Canada, June will see above-average temperatures along with below-average rainfall amounts. Environment Canada predicts this trend will continue right through July and August. So if they are correct, we will see a hot, dry summer ahead.

Over at the Old Farmer’s Almanac they are once again calling for below-average temperatures (that’s six months in a row for them). Along with the colder-than-average temperatures they are also calling for below-average amounts of rain. Their forecast then begins to transition to warmer and wetter conditions over the summer, with July expected to see near-average temperatures and rainfall, while August is predicted to have above-average temperatures and rainfall.

The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac appears to be calling for above-average temperatures in June, along with above-average rainfall. They mention a very hot end to the month, with highs in the 30 to 35 C range. They also mention strong thunderstorms several times during the month. Looking further ahead they seem to predict a warmer-than-average summer, with several mentions of either fair or hot weather. It also looks like the summer will see near- to above-average amounts of rain as they call for unsettled weather several times, along with several mentions for thunderstorms.

Finally, here are the Co-operator, I am leaning toward a slightly warmer than average June, with near- to slightly-below-average amounts of rain. For July and August I think I am going to go with persistence and say the current trend of near- to above-average temperatures, along with near- to slightly-above-average amounts of precipitation, will continue. Now, as usual, we just have to sit back and see what curveballs Mother Nature might throw at us this year.

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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