Summer is steadily slipping away in Alberta’s capital and while some Edmontonians may feel forced to start fearing for a chilly fall and icy, snowy winter, a new forecast from Environment Canada suggests the next few months will likely see Mother Nature go relatively easy on the city.
“We are suggesting that for much of Alberta, including the Edmonton area, it’s going to be on the mild side and on the dry side,” Dan Kulak, a meteorologist with the weather agency, told Global News on Friday.
Environment Canada recently released its fall and winter forecast for the city which concludes El Niño is likely to play a pivotal role in what Edmontonians can expect in the coming months.
“We do have a developing El Niño situation, which is that warm Pacific water situation in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America, suggesting 60 to 80 per cent probabilities of El Niño by February, March, April — sort of in that time frame,” Kulak said.
“That typically means milder and dryer winter weather for the Prairies, at least the western part of the Prairies and Alberta.”
READ MORE: El Niño: What it is and why it matters
According to Kulak, the El Niño effect in Alberta, and Western Canada, usually results in milder and dryer weather at Christmas and in January and February.
“Not every year is exactly the same, but sort of the long-term averages — the odds are that you get probably more warmer days than colder days and more dryer days than snowy days,” he said.
“With an El Niño, we tend to have more stable weather, less storm systems, the warm air moving into Alberta. Storm tracks generally in different locations, either further north or well to the south.”
Kulak warned against assuming an El Niño situation means the absence of any nasty weather.
“It does not mean that you’re never going to get any cold weather or never going to get any snow storm,” he said. “I think just a way to look at El Niños is a predominance of probably more warm days than cool days and more days with less precipitation than more days with a bunch of precipitation.”
Will it be a brown Christmas?
Kulak said brown Christmases have occurred in “strong El Niño years.”
“What is currently forecasted is not expected to get to the strong level, but it is expected to develop,” he said when asked about the prospects of Edmontonians not seeing any snow on the ground over Christmas.
“The phenomena usually is that it’s a peak in the ocean around that Christmas period,” he pointed out.
Are the dog days of summer coming to an end?
While it is technically still summer in Edmonton for another three weeks, Kulak indicated not to expect many more warm days to bask in the sun on Accidental Beach or enjoy sizzling heat on a patio.
“I think that realistically, our summer pattern across Alberta broke last Thursday afternoon and you know, that was sort of the end of the long duration upper ridge type of weather patterns that we talk about,” he said.
“It’s kind of pleasant to be out here still. Hopefully there’s going to be some nice 20-odd degree days in September, but as that month winds down, we certainly get into the cooler weather patterns.”
Watch below: Phil Darlington has the weather forecast for the Edmonton area for Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.