Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

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It’s weather AND climate: 20cm of Snow in Edmonton area May 19th, 2009

Posted by pwl on May 19, 2009

You’ve got to be kidding. This has everything to do with climate! WOW! The area is being drenched with snow!

Update 1: It turns out that May 2009 (is) was quite cold up here in Canada. See a Canada has Cold May Report. Personally I vote for an increase in global temperatures to say what it was 8,000 to 4,000 years ago during the Roman Age or even a little higher. Brrr… in Vancouver. – pwl

Edmonton is set to welcome a 20 cm dump of snow today – just weeks before the official start of summer.

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the region yesterday, still in effect today, stating the city will likely be blanketed with the white stuff by this afternoon.

The forecasted high is 5 C.

“The worst has yet to come,” said Environment Canada weatherman Greg Pearce. “You’re not out of the woods yet.”

About 4.5 cm of the snow landed in the Edmonton area yesterday, forcing unhappy campers to storm from a RV park in droves and keeping sun worshippers indoors.

The mercury remained in the low single digits.

West of the city, Hinton and Edson marked 20 cm of snow yesterday.

Flurries in Lake Wabumun sent campers scurrying for cover, said Kokanee Springs RV Park owner Len Quaghebeur.

“All my campers packed up and screwed off,” Quaghebeur said. “There’s nobody here anymore. It’s pathetic. They’re all leaving in droves.”

The crummy weather also forced the closure of Edmonton’s Mill Creek outdoor pool, which was scheduled to open over the long weekend.

When I lived in Edmonton in the seventies (as a teenager) it we occasionally had similar weather but I don’t recall it snowing in mid May! That’s a bit extreme. Well since my memory is scientific in this case let’s look at the historical data and see what it shows.

Historical weather data from weather station CYXD via the Alpha Wolf.

Well, we can see that it’s been warmer for the last while until this dip and then there are a couple of other low spikes for this date all the way back to the early 1970’s. That’s cool this weather station has more historical data than the one for Vancouver which only goes back 10 years.

So 1987 had a -3 on this day.

Satellite Image of the “weather front” over the Edmonton area. Note the temperature scale of the clouds.

To find Edmonton look for the bend on the western border of Albert and move east to about the center of the province and that’s generally where Edmonton is or see this map of Alberta (click to zoom in). Hinton is west of Edmonton in the foot hills of the rocky mountains.

Today’s current weather and projection (dotted lines).

This week with today and projection for the rest of the week (dotted lines). You clearly can see this anomaly dip down. Oh, is it an anomaly, nah, it’s climate, oh pardon me, it’s weather, oh wait, it’s weather within the climate range… it’s BOTH weather AND climate! Wow!

Weather station location station nerds to photograph and audit. Anyone got photos?

Finally the official weather forecast from those soothsayers in the know.

Environment Canada
Issued : 11.00 AM MDT Tuesday 19 May 2009

Snow mixed with rain. Snowfall amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind southeast 30 km/h becoming light near noon. High plus 3.

Snow. Snow mixed with rain early this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low plus 1.

Light snow ending near noon then cloudy with 40 percent chance of rain showers. Becoming cloudy periods in the evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 9.

Sunny. Low minus 1. High 13.

Sunny. Low minus 3. High 17.

Sunny. Low 6. High 20.

Sunny. Low 6. High 20.

A mix of sun and cloud. Low 8. High 20.

Edmonton City Centre Airport
Averages and Extremes for: May 19, 2009
Averages and Extremes Year
Average Maximum Temperature N/A
Average Minimum Temperature N/A
Frequency of Precipitation N/A
Highest Temperature (2005-2007) 24.2°C 2006
Lowest Temperature (2005-2007) 3.2°C 2007
Greatest Precipitation (2005-2007) 1.0mm 2007
Greatest Rainfall (-) N/A
Greatest Snowfall (-) N/A
Most Snow on the Ground (2005-2006) 0.0cm 2005

One Response to “It’s weather AND climate: 20cm of Snow in Edmonton area May 19th, 2009”

  1. CodeTech said

    May 20, 1986… one of Calgary’s record dumps of snow.

    May long weekend: traditionally considered in Alberta as the most likely time to experience snow while camping… more reliably even than during winter.

    However, this HAS been a less than “warming” year, that’s for sure! We’re currently in a pattern of just barely reaching “room temperature” for a day or two, then down to cold and wet for a few days.

    In other words, it’s a cold, dismal weather year, but not outside the range of normal… which is the key I keep trying to remind people of. I’ve never in my life experienced any weather that was outside the range of normal, but have been amazed watching people during every weather event, cold snap, heat wave, as they act like they are seeing the most unusual thing ever.

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