Early winter weather covered the city in a dusting of white on Tuesday and cast a pall over the final days of summer for sun-loving Edmontonians.

The unexpected snow was met with much grumbling on social media, with some Edmontonians declaring it the official death of summer.

The near-record heat in late August made the transition to wintry weather all the more difficult, but snow in September should not come as a surprise, says David Phillips, a senior climatologist for Environment Canada.

'Kind of like a dress rehearsal'

"It didn't have any lasting power. It was almost like a sneak attack," Phillips said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"When you look in September, it's not a surprise. It shouldn't be a shock to veteran Edmontonians.

"I think it's fair of nature. It's kind of like a dress rehearsal."

As a cold miserable rain turned into snow, the Edmonton Blatchford weather station recorded more 4.8 millimetres of precipitation on Tuesday, according to the latest report from Environment Canada.

At the Edmonton International Airport, 4.8 centimetres of snow fell throughout the day, breaking a daily snowfall record of 1.3 centimetres set in 1972.

A large disturbance in the upper and lower jet stream over Alberta Wednesday drew moisture from B.C. and the Pacific Coast, Phillips said.

When that moisture collided with a pocket of cold Arctic air, it created the perfect conditions for a cold, wet snow, he said.

Obituary on summer?

Snow in September doesn't necessarily mean we're in for a brutal season, he said.

Fall is expected to be milder than average and winter is forecast to be only slighter colder than last year, with "about the same" amount of snow.

"I don't think you should write the obituary to summer quite yet, but … maybe you should think about putting the lawn furniture away and find out where your snow shovel is," Phillips said.

"Don't think, 'Oh my gosh, now we're in for the long, hoary season.' You can't read too much into this one single day dusting of snow."


  Listen to Edmonton AM with host Mark Connolly, weekday mornings at CBC Radio One, 93.9 FM in Edmonton. Follow the morning crew on Twitter @EdmAMCBC