Calgary's July wettest on record in nearly 90 years

Calgary, Canada's sunshine capital, was drenched with 206.1 mm of the wet stuff in July — a month which typically sees an average of 66 mm.

Southern Alberta saw 19 days of thunderstorms and just 8 dry days in July 2016

A severe thunderstorm hit Calgary on July 12, flooded the Southland C-Train station and snarled traffic throughout the city. (Bob Clark)

Freak weather and severe thunderstorms made the last month one of the soggiest on record, more than tripling the amount of rainfall Calgary sees in a typical July. 

Calgary, Canada's sunshine capital, was drenched with 206.1 mm of the wet stuff, compared to an average of 66 mm for the month of July. 

With 10 days in a row of precipitation and just eight dry days, "It's a head shaker and an anomaly," said Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips. 

Southern Alberta is known for how quickly its weather can shift. 

"It hits and runs. It doesn't sort of stand around and torment you like it does in other parts of the world," he said.

Yet in an uncharacteristic fashion, July's soakers returned day after day.

"It was a weather feature that just stuck over the province and just wouldn't leave, like an unwanted house guest," he said.

"It was almost boring and monotonous. Every day seemed like the day before, and the day before that."

'Rain begets rain'

July was a "rip-roaring kind of turbulent month" in terms of thunderstorms, of which the region saw 19 in July, said Phillips.

Those severe weather systems brought fog, lightning, and hail that ranged from dime-sized to golf ball-sized, he said. 

Part of the reason the region received such a persistent soaking owes to this idea that "rain begets rain," Phillips explained.

Trapped moisture from the Gulf of Alaska and northern Pacific filled dugouts, sloughs, ditches, and potholes to the brim with rainwater, which then evaporated with warm temperatures, circulated in the air and returned to the ground as precipitation. 

While July 1927 still holds the record for Calgary's wettest July at 246 mm of rain, July 2016 "certainly will stand out in history as one of the more bizarre," Phillips said.

This footage shows the heavy hail that came with Tuesday afternoon's thunderstorm. Credit: Blake Bastedo 0:22


With files from The Homestretch