Will June showers follow May flowers?

Overnight freezes at the end of May were unusually long for that time of year

Skies cleared and arctic air moved in on May 26-27, leaving most regions of Manitoba with some frosted patches.

Another month is in the books, and it was another in a series of interesting months, weather-wise. May began where April left off, but since it was May, it felt even colder. Daytime highs struggled to make it into the low teens and overnight lows routinely fell well below 0 C. This all changed around May 11 when daytime highs began to warm toward the 20 C mark. These warm temperatures peaked from May 16 to 18 as daytime highs reached or exceeded the 30 C mark in several locations. With dry conditions worsening, the weather pattern underwent a shift that brought several rounds of precipitation across nearly all areas of agricultural Manitoba from May 19 to 25. While some locations saw upward of 50 to 60 mm of rain, other areas only saw 10 to 15 mm — not enough to put much of a dent in current drought conditions. The final kick from Mother Nature came overnight on May 26-27 as skies cleared and arctic air moved in. Most regions saw some degree of frost, but more frost-prone areas saw extreme cold/frost. Overnight lows in some areas fell into the -5 to -7 C range, with freezing temperatures lasting upward of eight hours — something that is a little unusual for this late in the month.

When all the numbers for Manitoba were added up, not surprisingly, it was a colder- and drier-than-average month across all three of our main regions. All three regions saw mean monthly temperatures that were very similar compared to average. The Winnipeg region was the warmest at a mean monthly temperature of 10.3 C, with both Brandon and Dauphin coming in around 9.2 C. These temperatures were all about 1.4 C below the long-term average. Precipitation amounts, despite the late-month rainfall, were still below average in most areas. Winnipeg saw about 50 mm of rain, about 10 mm below average. Both Brandon and Dauphin regions reported around 26 mm of rain, only about half their long-term averages for the month.

Looking farther west, Saskatchewan also saw colder-than-average conditions with mean monthly temperatures almost 2 C below the long-term average. This region did see a little more rain: Saskatoon reported around 35 mm of rain, about eight mm below average, while Regina reported 65 mm, nearly 15 mm above average. In Alberta, temperatures were a little warmer, but still mostly below average. The Calgary region came in around 1.2 C below average, while both the Edmonton and Peace River regions reported mean monthly temperatures at or just slightly below the long-term averages. Precipitation was above average in the Edmonton region but below average in the Peace and Calgary regions.

Overall, it turned out to be a cooler-than-average May across nearly all regions, with precipitation amounts varying from below average in Manitoba and southern and northern Alberta to above average over most of agricultural Saskatchewan and central Alberta.

Who called it?

Looking back at the different long-range forecasts I think the winner for May was the CFS weather model, with its call for slightly below-average temperatures and above-average rainfall. While not perfect, it was still better than the other forecasts.

On to the June-to-August weather outlooks. As usual, we will start off with the two almanacs. The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for a cool, wet June, then a slightly warmer-than-average but very dry July. This is then followed by a very warm and wet August — not the best forecast from a farming perspective. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is calling for a June that sounds like it will see near- to above-average temperatures as it mentions thunderstorms a lot during the month, and you usually need warm weather for thunderstorms. With all the mentions of thunderstorms I would have to say precipitation in June will be above average. July sounds cool and wet as it mentions showery, unsettled, fair and cooler weather several times. Its August forecast seems to be calling for… well, I do not know. For some reason, its website won’t let me see the long-range forecast, even though I am a paying premium member. Maybe I should come up with some conspiracy theory as to why it is not working.

Next up are the weather models, beginning with NOAA; it calls for above-average temperatures from June through August, with below-average precipitation over the western and central Prairies and near average over Manitoba. The CFS model forecasts above-average temperatures in June and August with near- to even slightly below-average temperatures in July, especially across Saskatchewan. Precipitation is forecast to be above average across Saskatchewan in June with near-average amounts elsewhere. The above-average rainfall moves into Manitoba in July followed by near-average amounts across all regions in August. The last weather model, the CanSIPS, forecasts above-average temperatures across southern regions in all three months, cooling toward near to slightly below average over northern regions. Precipitation is forecast to be near to below average for all three months.

Lastly, my forecast, which is based on my gut feelings after examining all the different forecasts. I am a little torn; I think we are going to see warmer- and drier-than-average conditions over the next three months, but in the back of my mind the abrupt cold snaps we have seen this spring are making me second-guess myself. We could continue to see this pattern of very warm, dry weather being punctuated with periods of cool, wet weather. This type of pattern in the summer could lead to some significant severe weather outbreaks. I think the picture will become a little clearer over the next couple of weeks. Until then, here is hoping the weather gives you exactly what you need.

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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