Alberta Weather A Moody Mix?



Map of Alberta, Canada. Source of map: Environment Canada.

Alberta weather is temperamental, at times. This province has a foothold in three climate regions.

  • North of Slave Lake lies in the Northern Climatic Region of Canada.

  • South of Slave Lake, and roughly east of Grande Prairie, Edson, and Medecine Hat is in the Prairie Climatic Region.

  • From Grande Prairie, Edson, and Medecine Hat westward, Alberta is in the eastern Cordillera Climatic Region.

From the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, to the northern half in the sub-arctic, to the southeastern portion in the Prairies, the Alberta climate and weather can have many moods!



Edmonton, Alberta, Canda Normals of temperature and precipitation. Data source: Environment Canada.

The Chinook - A Unique Phenomenon

In the winter, the chinook is, perhaps, one of the most spectacular weather phenomena in the world. Alberta's weather can go from winter to summer-like temperatures … in just a few hours!

The chinook occurs when moist Polar air comes in from the west, and sheds all it's moisture as it moves across the Rocky Mountains. The dried up air warms up rapidly, as it rushes down the eastern slope of the mountains.

The sudden warming is most spectacular when it occurs after a cold spell, accompanied by snow. The sky clears abruptly, and temperatures can jump to as high as 16.5C in Calgary (Jan-10-1987), 16.7C in Lethbridge (Jan-19-1944), and 18.3 (Jan-29-1931) … in January!


Calgary Alberta Canada - Normals. Source of data: Environment Canada.

Normally …

Winters in Alberta can be pleasantly mild, some years, as they can be bitterly cold, other years.

It's as though mother nature was taking pleasure in playing with "normals".

It's almost "normal" to see winter, or summer temperatures occasionally swing above or below normals, in Alberta.

Alberta weather can be somewhat confusing to those who are looking for signs of "global warming"!

Temperatures switch rapidly to summer values, during the month of April, and revert back to winter values, in October.

Summers are normally quite pleasant, with temperatures seldom uncomfortable.

Stay tuned, and keep a sharp weather watch!


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