By Nick Kuhl
Southern Alberta Newspapers
As the snow was falling in southern Alberta last week, people were likely checking their calendars to see if it was really September.
A weather warning called for up to 15 centimetres of snow.
But the good news is that last week’s event was an anomaly and the rest of the fall season should be near normal, according to meteorologists at The Weather Network, which launched its Fall Outlook last week.
Forecasting for the months of September, October and November, meteorologist Elena Lappo said southern Alberta residents should expect fluctuations between warmer-than-average daytime highs as well as lower than average, ultimately balancing out to near normal overall temperatures and precipitation.
“It’s definitely below seasonal temperatures that you’re experiencing there in southern Alberta,” Lappo said.
“But then, actually in the next few days, the temperatures should really start rebounding back. By the beginning of next week it seems like you’re going to get these warmer summer-type temperatures once again. For the next few weeks, it looks like the temperatures should be above seasonal.”
The normal daytime high for the area in September is 20 C, while it drops to 14 C in October and 5 C in November.
And, although it may seem strange, snow in the area in September is not uncommon.
Lappo even said the all-time one-day snowfall record for Lethbridge actually happened in September, as 55 cm fell on Sept. 21, 1968.
“In September, on average, Lethbridge gets two centimetres of snow. It’s not really unheard of to get snow in September. But it’s definitely unusual to see snow that early and especially that much of it. I wouldn’t be rushing with snow tires just yet, but it would definitely be a good idea to look at the long-range forecast and see when the next cool down is,” she said.
“What you’re seeing right now, those ups and downs; we’re actually expecting this kind of pattern to continue all the way through the fall months. You can expect another round of very cold temperatures way below seasonal, followed by a round of above season temperatures.”
Lappo also provided an early preview of what to expect for the coming winter months.
She said there is the anticipation of an El Nino pattern, which typically brings warmer than normal weather across B.C. to our west and colder than usual temperatures across the eastern Prairies.
“With Alberta being so close to both of those regions, sometimes you will get that really milder air,” Lappo said.
“But then once you get some Arctic air coming down from the north, you’ll definitely experience some really below seasonal temperatures as well. It looks like this rollercoaster will actually continue on for the winter in Alberta.”