The cool, wet weather brought by Alberta’s “June Monsoon” is now extending well into July — leaving many Red Deer-area residents wondering whatever happened to the summer of 2019.
It’s been three weeks of consistent gloom, admitted Environment Canada meteorologist Kyle Fougere.
“Since mid-June, we haven’t had very many nice days,” he said.
And that’s unusual in a province that boasts of having the sunniest cities in Canada.
Calgary is officially No. 1 for sun, with 1,396 hours (or 333 days) of sunshine annually. But Red Deer trails closely behind with 2,208 hours, or 324 sunny days, on average.
Fougere explained the duck-friendly conditions are caused by an upper trough that’s settled over all of Western Canada — from Hudson’s Bay in northern Manitoba to Victoria.
“We need a ridge of high pressure to move it along,” said the meteorologist — “and it looks like we might get that by mid next week.”
Meanwhile, area residents can take cold comfort in the fact it could always be worse.
Fougere notes only 75 millimetres of rain came down in the Red Deer area in June — which is eight millimetres less than normal for the province’s rainiest month.
(His colleagues have nicknamed the rain that comes after agricultural planting “the June Monsoon” because of the volume that falls.)
However, summertime is supposed to wield some heat — and clearly recent temperatures have fallen short of the ideal.
The average high for this time of year is 22 C.
“We’ve been well below that since mid-June,” Fougere confirmed, with the mercury barely climbing higher than the teens during daytime and dropping to single-digit lows at night.
Two weeks after the official start of the hottest season, gloom-weary central Albertans are still waiting to catch some rays.
“It’s been miserable,” says Jacob Davison, a Red Deer oilfield service worker. He adds he’s glad he doesn’t have a lot of time off this summer because, given the conditions, he might as well be on the job.
Zao Lin, who was walking with an umbrella through the Friday morning drizzle, also bemoans the lack of sun. While some rain is certainly needed this time of year, she says constant showers have made it hard to enjoy outdoor activities such as biking and pickleball.
Meagan Derksen, who recently moved to Red Deer from Vermilion, was sporting a tuque and sweatshirt to keep warm.
“I’m still wearing my sweaters, beanies and scarfs,” she admits. “This weather is not making me comfortable.”
But not everyone is complaining. Stettler resident Susan Chick, who drove to the city to shop on Friday, says she can’t stand it when it’s too hot.
“I think this kind of weather is ideal.”
It’s also perfect to fuel family trips to Red Deer’s Carnival Cinemas.
“It’s always good for us when it’s rainy, miserable weather,” says Justin Pedersen, one of the floor managers. He notes weekend matinees have been particularly popular with people who can’t hit the beach.
Although central Albertans are still careful with their travel dollars in this tight economy, staff at the Flight Centre booking outlet in Bower mall have noticed increased interest in flights to Mexico and other hot spots.
“Usually, people are going to Europe” this time of year, says an agent.
But the wait should soon be over for those longing for more sun and heat over central Alberta. Fougere says the forecast indicates normal summer temperatures are coming by Wednesday.