After a warm to hot May across the Prairies, the question on most weather minds was whether we would pay the price for the nice May or the heat would continue. As it turned out, the heat continued throughout much of June, with the warmest weather recorded right here in our part of the Prairies.
Adding up all the numbers for the major reporting centres across all three Prairie provinces, it turned out that no locations reported below-average temperatures. Alberta was the coolest, both in terms of absolute temperatures and the difference from average. Both the Edmonton and Peace River regions reported mean monthly temperatures around 14.5 C, about 0.5 C above average. The Calgary region also had a mean monthly temperature of about 14.5 C, which is about 0.8 C above average.
Moving on to Saskatchewan, mean monthly temperatures at both Regina and Saskatoon were around 17 C. This was about 1 C above the long-term average for Regina and 1.7 C for Saskatoon. The big-time heat was found here in Manitoba. The warm spot was the Winnipeg region, with a mean monthly June temperature of 19.6 C or about 2.5 C above average. The Brandon region recorded a mean monthly temperature of 18.6 C, about 2.7 C above average. The hot spot, with the greatest temperature difference relative to average goes to Dauphin, with a mean monthly temperature of 18.8 C, which is 3.1 C above average.
So, just how warm has it been across Manitoba over the last month or two? Well, the mean monthly temperatures for June were actually equal to what we would normally see in July. We must go back to July 2015 to find a warmer month than what we saw this June. Looking at the number of 30-plus C days so far this year, most places in southern Manitoba have already seen more this year than the last two years combined. So yes, it has been hot.
This hot late spring and early summer could have been devastating if we didn’t see any rain. Looking back at the precipitation data for June it turns out that, for most regions, rainfall was near to even slightly above average for June. Starting once again in Alberta, we find that both the Edmonton and Peace River regions recorded about 75 mm of rain, a few millimetres above average. Calgary was a little drier, with about 60 mm. Moving eastward, Regina and Saskatoon were both dry. Regina saw about 45 mm of rain, with Saskatoon only seeing about 20 mm. Here in Manitoba, thunderstorms brought near- to slightly above-average amounts of rainfall to both the Brandon and Dauphin regions. The Winnipeg region, while seeing some timely rains, came in about 20 mm below average, with a total of 70 mm of rain.
The look ahead
Now, on to the long-range forecasts. Will we see a continuation of the heat, or will we have to pay some of it back with cool weather? Starting off with the almanacs, the Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for near-average temperatures this summer with above-average amounts of precipitation in August, and near-average amounts in July. The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac seems to call for a hot July and August, with near-average rainfall. Moving on to Environment Canada, its latest three-month forecast is calling for above-average temperatures, with below-average amounts of precipitation.
The next weather models are American, the first being the CFS model, which is run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Their models have been fairly consistent, showing well-above-average temperatures continuing for all of July, with a bit of a cool-down toward more average values in August, especially across the eastern Prairies. Their precipitation forecast, which has not been as accurate as their temperature forecasts, calls for above-average amounts of precipitation for both July and August. Next in line is NOAA’s seasonal forecast. It continues to play it safe with a call for near-average temperatures and precipitation, with parts of western Alberta seeing a slightly warmer- and drier-than-average summer.
Finally, my two cents. I am continuing to lean toward a warmer-than-average summer, especially in July. As for precipitation, my gut is leaning toward near- to slightly above-average amounts, as the heat and humidity bring continued rounds of thunderstorms across our region. Now, as usual, it is time to see just what Mother Nature decides to throw at us.