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Blowin’ in the wind: Why is Edmonton experiencing strong gusts?

Click to play video: 'Edmonton weather forecast: Wednesday, June 5, 2024'
Edmonton weather forecast: Wednesday, June 5, 2024
WATCH: Here's Phil Darlington's Wednesday, June 5, 2024, evening weather forecast for Edmonton, Alberta and the surrounding area – Jun 5, 2024

Edmonton is giving Chicago a run for its money for being nicknamed “the windy city.”

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the city saw average wind speeds of 18 km/h and average wind gusts of 39 km/h from April to June.

The record average for the same period was set in 2001 when average wind speeds sat around 18 km/h, with gusts close to 45 km/h.

Alysa Pederson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said a storm that tracked through Edmonton earlier this week caused around 30 mm of rain to fall.

The storm, which caused a high-pressure ridge to build in B.C., is the main culprit for much of the wind the city has experienced this week, she said.

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“That storm system — the low-pressure system — is still sitting in Saskatchewan, kind of catching central and eastern Alberta right in the middle,” she said Thursday.

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“(It) means we have a really large pressure gradient through this area, which means we have clear skies, but it’s relatively windy.”

Pederson said Edmonton is experiencing higher-than-normal wind gusts compared to other years. Edmonton wind gusts clocked in at roughly 70 km/h on Wednesday, she said.

Historical records, which date back to 1944, measure average wind speeds at 16 km/h and average wind gusts at 34 km/h.

“When you’re actually looking at the numbers, it is a little bit higher than what our average would be,” said Pederson.

Pederson said the higher winds are more noticeable this year because Edmonton didn’t experience strong winds over the last two years.

In 2023, Environment Canada measured average wind gusts of 31 km/h within the Edmonton region. Average wind gusts measured even lower in 2022, clocking in at 14 km/h.

“That’s not even enough to deter a golf ball,” she said.

Pederson said weather intensity is expected to increase as a symptom of climate change.

“As we anticipate more significant extremes when it comes to these ridges of high pressure — your heat events or these massive low-pressure systems — wind is associated with all of that,” she said.

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— with files from Brent Pushkarenko, Global News

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