After a dry spring, Calgary gets as much rain Tuesday morning as expected for first half of August

·3 min read
According to Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, a transition into a wetter weather pattern is in the forecast toward the end of this week and into the next. (Rebecca Kelly/CBC - image credit)
According to Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, a transition into a wetter weather pattern is in the forecast toward the end of this week and into the next. (Rebecca Kelly/CBC - image credit)

After a lengthy dry spell, the Calgary area received as much rain Tuesday morning as would be expected for first half of August.

Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said that 30 millimetres of precipitation had already fallen on the city by about 11 a.m.

"As much as we'd expect for the month of August, up to this point, we received already today," Fougere said.

According to Fougere, a transition into a wetter weather pattern is also in the forecast for the end of this week and into the next.

After seeing half the expected amount of precipitation over March, April and May — specifically 50 millimetres instead of 100 — it's likely to come as a relief.

Wildfire smoke from fires burning in B.C., Saskatchewan and Alberta have choked the province for weeks, while this summer's heat wave has hurt a variety of industries, like the cattle sector, and it also affected crop development.

Kim Owen
Kim Owen

"It is looking like we're going to receive more precipitation, and, you know, we could end up getting closer to normal by the time this summer is over," Fougere said.

"We had quite a dry spring … [and] the lack of moisture can have impacts on the agricultural community, and of course, wildfire risk as well."

June, which is typically Calgary's wettest month, continued with the same trend, and received 25 millimetres of precipitation instead of the expected 94.

"When we only received 26 per cent of the typical precipitation [in June], that's kind of a big deal," he said.

"It has impacts for the rest of the year, because we missed out on a lot precipitation in the month where we typically have the most."

'Maybe a cooler, wetter finish'

Calgary is not the only southern Alberta location with rain in the forecast on Tuesday. Others include Okotoks, Airdrie, Drumheller and Kananaskis Country.

However, Fougere said, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, which had even hotter and dryer summers up to this point, should expect some rain but not as much.

A big reason why southern Alberta has received less precipitation than expected this spring and summer is due to a ridge of high pressure over most of western North America, Fougere explained.

It created what meteorologists call a "blocking pattern" — stagnant and unmoving, the ridge causes sinking air and clear skies beneath.

"What we're seeing today is a low pressure system has moved through, it has broken down that ridge, and we're finally seeing some much-needed precipitation," Fougere said.

"But for most of the summer, these low pressure systems have just moved around the province … so that's why it's been so dry in Calgary and southern Alberta."

The forecast for southern Alberta has it edging closer to its precipitation averages at the end of the month, he said — but this is still Alberta.

"We're in a very highly variable province, and so although by the end of summer we could end up being closer to average, it's an average of some wild swings from one direction to another," Fougere said.

"But it is a kind of a tale of a very hot, dry start, and then maybe a cooler, wetter finish."

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