What a hot and dry summer did to Alberta’s storms – Edmonton

Driving down any considered one of Alberta’s roads this summer season, it will be arduous to argue that the mud cloud within the rearview mirror was a bit larger thank regular — it was dry. Scratch that. It was the driest. Actually.


In all of Edmonton’s recorded climate historical past, the summer season of 2021 has gone down because the driest. Usually the town receives 233mm of precipitation — on common — throughout the season. In line with Setting and Local weather Change Canada (ECCC), simply 86.3mm fell this summer season. That’s lower than 40 per cent of regular totals. The story round the remainder of the province was a lot the identical.

READ MORE: ‘Normal’ autumn expected after one of the hottest summers ever in Alberta 

The chance to crops from the abundance of sizzling and dry climate was along with the same old medley of summer season storm components. Nevertheless, they too weren’t presenting as regular. The variety of storms with hail totalled 96 when on common, Alberta sees 65. Robust winds too had been extra frequent. A median, summer season yields 24 robust wind occasions, however 35 had been recorded in 2021. Nevertheless, this summer season did are available because the fifth-lowest for lightning within the final 20 years.

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After which there was the difficulty of tornadoes, or lack thereof.

“We solely had two tornadoes confirmed this yr, each of which occurred on June 5”, mentioned ECCC warning preparedness meteorologist Kyle Fougère.

“You do need to have lots of warmth and lots of humidity for these thunderstorms. We had the warmth, however that humidity was actually lacking and I believe that was a giant issue.”

Western Canada noticed a robust ridge of excessive strain sit over it for parts of the summer season, which performed a job in stopping storm formation, although different forces had been at work. Smoke from wildfires in B.C. and Saskatchewan additionally moved in by means of July.

Fougère mentioned 2021 noticed Alberta expertise its second-smokiest summer season on file with 125 hours of visibility lowered beneath 10km due to the haze. He mentioned the file was 230 hours in 2018.

“What that did is it created a layer that prevented the warmth to achieve the floor, which is a key a part of thunderstorm exercise, and that actually blocked lots of thunderstorms from forming,” Fougère mentioned.

READ MORE: Group of scientists concludes climate change made B.C., Alberta heat wave 150 times more likely 

He added that’s was a really distinctive summer season with simply how extended and excessive the warmth was. Nevertheless, the ridge did divert storms round Western Canada and hotter and drier summers are going to happen extra usually with a warming local weather.

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