Expect more hot dry weather in August, says Phillips

By Geoff Smith (@smithco on Twitter)
July 31, 2017 - 11:12am

LETHBRIDGE - How do you spell relief? Probably not A-U-G-U-S-T.

After a July heat wave, there's a promising start to August in the forecast. The expected high for Tuesday, August 1 is 22, and there's a slight chance of showers Tuesday night. But it looks like it's just a blip.

"There is something in weather called 'persistence': what you see is what you're going to get," Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said in an interview Monday. "My sense is, that the models seem to suggest more warm and dry conditions for August."

Lethbridge unofficially set a new record Sunday, with a high of 36.2. But Phillips expects the hot days in August to stay within the low 30s. Still, it's been a hotter and drier summer than what we typically receive.

Monday, with a forecast high of 32, would make 21 days above the 30 degree mark. Phillips said an average year would see a total of around 18 such days, six or seven of them in July. But at least there's been some relief at night, he added, and he thinks dry conditions are playing a role in that.

"You're down to something like 16 per cent of your annual precipitaiton," he explained. "Of course, when you get it that hot you actually need more rain, not less rain."

Phillips said it's the jet stream that's been the major player in who gets the heat and who gets the rain and severe storms.

"It has been hanging out really in the west, far further north than it would normally be," he said, adding that when it does drop down it's meant severe weather for the area of central Alberta known as "hailstorm alley."

"Of course, you wouldn't want that, because the insurance agents there are very busy this year because of that. But what we're seeing in parts of southern Alberta is mostly dry conditions extended over into Saskatchewan too."

Phillips said the area has had around seven millimetres of rain, when normal is about 43 mm.

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