After Calgary experienced hotter than usual summer weather last year, we might not get any relief this year.
A new long-range weather forecast from AccuWeather predicts that Alberta will see continued dryness and increasing heat as we head into the summer months.
“Ongoing and worsening severe drought across southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan will likely feed the heat through the summer,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
According to the Canadian Drought Monitor, nearly all of the southern portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan are experiencing at least abnormal dryness, as of mid-May. And, as of late May, a large percentage of far-southern Alberta was in the midst of extreme drought.
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“I expect a hotter summer compared to normal in cities such as Calgary and Regina,” Anderson said. He noted the ongoing drought as a key reason that temperatures will soar above normal.
Because the ground is so dry, it radiates heat from the sun back into the lower levels of the atmosphere more easily. AccuWeather says that this process raises the air temperature to a level that is several degrees higher than if the soil was moist.
Sadly, the dryness and heat increase the risk of wildfires across the southern Prairies.
“These dry and warm conditions will likely lead to a higher risk for large, rapidly spreading fires across the southern Prairies,” Anderson said.
Some regions of the Prairies, including portions of southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba, may see an exception to the elevated heat and wildfire risk in the early summer due to moist soil in these areas. Unfortunately, Calgary is not among these regions.
Anderson says that, as was the case in the winter and spring, a moderate La Niña phase is expected to persist into the summer months.
La Niña’s effects are felt most profoundly along the West Coast, but elsewhere in Canada, weather patterns could be different due to the natural phenomenon too.
While Calgary and the rest of the southern Prairies are forecast to see hot temperatures and potential wildfires this summer, eastern Canada is in for a humid and warm season with plenty of thunderstorms, and the west coast could be in for some wet and cool weather.
With files from Megan Devlin