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Air quality, moisture impacted by southern Alberta’s unusually warm fall: meteorologist

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s extended summer weather affecting wildlife migratory and fall behaviour'
Alberta’s extended summer weather affecting wildlife migratory and fall behaviour
WATCH: From birds not starting to migrating south to bees and bears modifying their fall hibernation behaviour, Sarah Reid looks at how the extended summer weather being enjoyed in Alberta is creating challenges for wildlife. – Oct 19, 2022

The recent weather conditions in southern Alberta may have felt like an extended summer for some residents, but experts say there are some downsides to the unusually warm conditions.

According to Sara Hoffman, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Alberta has seen a “significant warm spell” this fall.

“The first two weeks of October have been significantly above normal in terms of temperatures,” Hoffman said.

“In Alberta alone, we’ve set over 107 daily maximum temperature records (from) Oct. 1 to 19.”

Click to play video: 'Snow and rain this weekend: October 20 Saskatchewan weather outlook'
Snow and rain this weekend: October 20 Saskatchewan weather outlook

According to government of Canada online weather records, the maximum temperature in Lethbridge on Oct. 18, 2022 was 26 C. In 2021, the high for the same day was 12 C, with a high of -6 C in 2020.

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Lethbridge saw just 18 millimetres of precipitation this September, while Hoffman said the normal is 41 millimetres.

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This makes it the 34th driest September on record in the last 121 years.

The dry conditions were likely beneficial during harvest, but Hoffman explained this lack of moisture could affect farmers come spring.

“We just have a little bit less of that available moisture after winter in the spring that sometimes gets reset a bit in the fall with some fall rains.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s extended summer weather affecting wildlife migratory and fall behaviour'
Alberta’s extended summer weather affecting wildlife migratory and fall behaviour

However, there is still time to regain some of that moisture.

Parts of Alberta are expected to dip in temperature and see either rain or snow this weekend.

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Albertans may have also noticed lingering smoke in the air, affecting air quality as wildfires continue to burn.

“September also was hot and fairly dry in the province. The start of October has had a much more significant departure from normal,” Hoffman continued.

“This has had an impact on worsening and extending the wildfire season in many parts of Western Canada.”

The dryness may also be contributing to what Hoffman called feeling “sneezey and wheezy.”

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