Who needs summer? Fall heat wave in Central Alberta

Wednesday would have been the hottest day of the summer. Only it was the second day of fall.

Susan Istvan basks in the sun at Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Wednesday: Central Alberta set a new record high yesterday

Wednesday would have been the hottest day of the summer.

Only it was the second day of fall.

The mercury spiked at 34.2C at 4 p.m. at the Red Deer Regional Airport at Springbrook to fry the old record of 29.2C set in 1990. It also set the mark as the hottest day of the year, with the 31.1C recorded on Aug. 1 a distant second.

Wednesday’s broiler was the fourth record high, plus a tie, for the month.

Environment Canada meteorologist Louis Kohanyi said Red Deer owes its balmy break to an unusually strong ridge of high pressure sitting over the Rockies.

“It’s not something that normally happens on the 23rd of September, to have such high temperatures and to have such a strong ridge of high pressure over Alberta.”

At Rotary Park, Kevin Bettesworth was taking advantage of the scorcher to get in a little playground action with three-year-old son Avery.

“So far, so good” was his take on fall.

“We were kind of due in the fall because of the wet spring and the late spring. It’s kind of nice to get paid back with this nice weather late in the year.”

Avery was also pretty happy with the heat wave. For one thing, it means Slurpee season will be extended a few more days, added his dad with a grin.

Danelle Meier and five-year-old daughter Kate didn’t quite see eye to eye on the merits of the unseasonable weather.

“I don’t like it because it’s too hot,” said Kate, as she took her seat in their air-conditioned minivan after playing in the park over lunch.

But mom would be happy to see the warm spell stick around for much longer. “Please, until the 15th of December, and then it can snow for Santa,” she said with a laugh.

This month’s record run began on Sept. 3 when the temperature topped out at 30.6C, tying the record set in 1938.

On Sept. 16, the temperature hit 30.7C, a full two degrees above the previous record set in 1981. Three days later, another record was set when the high reached 27.1C, beating the 1991 record of 26.1C. Tuesday was also a record. The 29.9C topped the old record of 28.9C set Sept. 22, 1950.

Alberta is not the only province benefitting from the high pressure ridges. B.C. was also expecting record breaking temperatures on Wednesday, said Kohanyi, who is based in Vancouver.

The run of record breaking is about to end, however. The ridge will be moving on and cooler temperatures are expected to follow.

“A cold front is going to be going through the area. But it is going to be a drier cold front and we’re not expecting any precipitation associated with it.”

Today’s high is expected to hit 24C with 23C forecast for Friday, still well above the average high of 16C for this time of year. The temperature is expected to dip to 18C by Saturday and 13C on Sunday.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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