Expect a wetter summer, with normal temperatures, says Environment Canada

Long-range summer forecast hard to predict and only right about half the time

Central Albertans can expect normal temperatures, but more rain, according to Environment Canada’s seasonal forecast.

“The forecast right now is for northern Alberta to have a cooler-than-normal summer, and southern Alberta (which includes central Alberta) to have a near-normal summer in terms of temperature,” said meteorologist Sara Hoffman on Friday.

The average temperature in the summer is 14.8 C, when combining both highs and lows.

For precipitation, southern and central Alberta are expected to register more than the usual 260 millimetres that falls from June 1 to the end of August, according to the forecast.

But before you get ready to curse the weather gods, Hoffman concedes that predicting seasonal weather patterns — especially for summer — is tricky.

“I want to add the caveat that our historical skill for this time frame… for northern Alberta is not statistically higher than chance,” said Hoffman. “So, take it with a large grain of salt.”

That means the forecasting is accurate — at best — 40 per cent of the time.

Southern and central Alberta have been a little easier to predict, with forecasts correct 40 to 55 per cent of the time.

So, there is plenty of room for optimism for sun worshippers and the glass-half-full crowd that the meteorologists will be off the mark.

Hoffman said Canadian summers are particularly hard to predict.

“We have a lot more skill in other seasonal forecasts.”

A lot of it has to do with the numerous weather models that are used. They do not do as well predicting our warmest season based on the available inputs.

While it’s always difficult to predict weather months into the future, this year is especially challenging because there are no strong climate oscillations, such as an El Nino or La Nina.

El Nino typically causes milder-than-normal winters and springs in western, northwestern and central Canada. La Nina is associated with colder-than-usual winters on the Prairies.

AccuWeather released its seasonal forecast for Canada last week. According to their projections, Alberta and B.C. are in store for a warmer- and drier-than-usual summer.

Meanwhile, enjoy the weather we have now. The average high at this time of year is 19 C, and Saturday’s predicted high of 27 C will blow past that.

Sunday will be warm too, at 25 C, but there is a 60 per cent chance of daytime showers. Monday is back to near average with 20 C forecast.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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