More than 30 millimetres of rain fell in Calgary in the last 24 hours, a reprieve from the hot and dry conditions experienced throughout much of the summer.
Prior to Tuesday’s 33-millimetre rainfall, the city only had one millimetre of rain so far in August.
The rainfall came after a spring that only saw half of the 100 millimetres of precipitation expected.
“When you miss out on the month that you typically have the highest amounts precipitation, then those effects can linger for several months after,” Environment Canada meteorologist Kyle Fougere said.
“It is good that at the end of summer, we’re finally starting to see some moisture, which will help in the coming months.”
According to Fougere, only 25 millimetres of rain fell in June, which is typically the city’s wettest month.
The dry conditions were accompanied by wildfire smoke drifting into the province from B.C. throughout the month of July.
Along with the rain, Fougere said Calgary can expect a break from the smoke thanks to a shift in weather patterns that is bringing more air from the north rather than the west.
“That clear air is something that has been much-needed and it looks like that’s going to persist for the next little while as we’re starting to see these systems and the air is going to move down from the north,” Fougere said.
Tuesday’s precipitation is also expected to help with the wildfire situation locally in southern Alberta.
“We saw fire danger ratings climb to extreme in the early part of this month, late into July. But as of the last 24 hours with the rain that’s come through the mountains, the fire danger rating across southern Alberta is low,” Alberta Wildfire information officer Derrick Forsythe said.
“That’s based on the fact we’ve seen across the area anywhere between 40 to 60 millimetres of rain.”
According to Alberta Wildfire, the fire that sparked in Dead Man’s Flats on Friday is under control and six hectares in size. It isn’t expected to grow due to the recent rainfall.
There are currently 38 fires burning in Alberta, including five new fires that sparked up over the last 24 hours, according to wildfire officials.
Fire bans are still in effect across southern Alberta, and while they are expected to be lifted, Forsythe said those decisions will be made in the coming days.
“We know from our statistics from last year that 88 per cent of all wildfires were human-caused,” Forsythe said.
“So before we rush to take off a fire ban or lift an advisory or restriction, we want to make sure that we’re not jumping the gun and that we’re doing so in a prudent, proper way that’s going to ensure people are going to be safe.”
The hot and dry weather was particularly felt among Alberta’s producers and farmers.
According to Colleen Biggs, co-owner of TK Ranch east of Calgary, the ranch lost nearly 600 acres of winter forage to help feed their 1,100 head of cattle.
Biggs said the rainfall was a sign of hope for many farmers across southern Alberta.
“This rain is beneficial for so many farm families that this gives them some hope that there will be a turn of events in the future,” Biggs told Global News.
“Mother Nature has shown us that water can actually fall from the sky again because a lot of us were starting to doubt it.”
Although the rain is welcome, Biggs said many farmers have already begun harvesting what they could from this year’s crop.
She said more moisture could benefit the next growing season in 2022.
“We can just hope that we have a lot of snow this winter, so when spring comes, we do have a lot more runoff and residual soil moisture to get those crops started,” Biggs said.
As for what the rest of summer will hold weather-wise, Fougere said to expect cooler temperatures and more rain.
“It’s been a tale of a dry, hot start to the summer, where it’s looking like we are going to finish a bit cooler than normal, just for the next couple of weeks,” Fougere said.