Edmonton

'A water torture test': After a sodden spring, Edmonton can expect a waterlogged summer

This spring was particularly wet, swelling rivers, spawning thick swarms of mosquitoes and sprouting bumper crops of mushrooms on overgrown lawns.

Out of 47 spring days in Edmonton this year, only 10 were rain-free.

This spring in Edmonton was particularly wet, with more than double the average rainfall. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Little bitty stingin' rain. Big ol' fat rain. Rain that flies in sideways, and sometimes rain even seems to come straight up from underneath. 

In the famous words of Forrest Gump, Edmonton has been through every kind of rain there is these past four months.

This spring was particularly wet, swelling rivers, spawning thick swarms of mosquitoes and sprouting bumper crops of mushrooms on overgrown lawns.

"It's like a water torture test," said Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

"You're losing the summer. I mean, come on, you value your warm days, your dry days, your sunny days.

"These are the longest days of the year but who cares when it's just more rain piled on more rain." 

'About as miserable as it gets'

From May 20 to July 6, Edmonton had 204 millimetres of rain, almost double the average rainfall of 107 millimetres for the time period. 

And only a tiny fraction of those days were completely rain-free, Phillips said. 

"You're not a moist climate. I mean, you are a dry climate. But only 10 days of those 47 days have been dry. That is just brutal." 

To add to Edmonton's misery, the weather has not been particularly warm. Average temperatures have been below average. Phillips said the warmest temperature on record so far this year was 27 C on a sunny day in mid-June. The days have been relatively cool since then. 

"You've had a lot of rain and no heat to dry it out," he said. "It's about as miserable as it gets.

"And you know the problem is, there is something called persistence in weather. What you see is what you're going to get." 

A high-pressure system is to blame for the monotonous rainy days. (Art Raham/CBC)

'Bowling balls'

Philips said a blocking high is to blame. The stubborn weather pattern is keeping eastern and central Canada hot and dry and leaving Alberta out in the cold. 

The high-pressure system has been swirling over Manitoba, the United States, Ontario and Quebec for months and refuses to budge. 

"You get all these weather systems that come in off the Pacific, some Arctic air that comes in and then just gets blocked," Phillips said.  "And they're like bowling balls on the bowling ball rack. One storm comes and then it just pirouettes around and can't move from west to east. It just stays put. 

"It just keeps coming and coming and its brothers and sisters follow it. You're not getting any break at all." 

After a wet spring, summer is expected to be much the same. The days will get warmer, Phillips said, but the rain will likely stick around.

July is expected to be warmer than average but the long-term forecast calls for sunny weather with a chance of showers. 

"The wet weather may still continue but at least the warm weather will come," he said. "There is a strand of hope there." 

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