Saskatchewan

Forecasting for the fall: What will the weather bring in Saskatchewan?

CBC meteorologist Christy Climenhaga takes a look back at the hot and dry summer much of Saskatchewan saw, and a first look at what to expect this fall and winter.

This summer was hot and dry for many areas of the province, and fall/winter outlooks are mild

Harvest is underway in Saskatchewan. But what's in store weather-wise this fall and winter? (Marcy Hiduk/Twitter)

It's that time of year again — the nights are getting longer and the kids are trying to squeeze the most fun they can out of these last few days of summer vacation. 

The weather in Saskatchewan this long weekend is looking promising for those trying to cling to that summer fun. Though you may still see that smoke from the forest fires in northern Saskatchewan, sunshine and temperatures in the mid- to high 20s C should last until Sunday.

Monday and Tuesday will bring seasonal temperatures in the lower-20s range, just in time for kids to go back to school. 

Parched summer for much of Saskatchewan

This summer was a memorable one in the province. Warm and incredibly dry conditions dominated the weather picture for many in the south for July, while the north saw a relatively wet month. 

Maximum temperatures peaked around four degrees above normal in areas like Regina. The Queen City also saw its driest July in 130 years with only 1.8 millimetres of rain falling. 

Temperatures in August took a slight turn in much of Saskatchewan. Although daily highs were around a degree or so warmer than normal on average (thanks in part to the 30 degree weather at the end of the month), average daily lows were cooler than normal in Regina and Saskatoon. 

The dry weather did persist through August, with Regina seeing about a quarter of the usual rainfall the city would normally see, and Saskatoon getting a little over half its usual rainfall. 

Drier than normal conditions persisted in Saskatchewan this August.

Areas in the north saw less rain through August as well, with La Ronge reporting only 19.6 millimetres (from Aug. 1 to Aug. 30), when it would usually see 60.6 millimetres.

That dry weather late in the season helped elevate the fire risk in most of Saskatchewan

What do fall and winter look like?

So far, most forecasts are pegging fall temperatures as warmer than normal.

David Phillips is the senior climatologist with Environment Canada. He says that September, October and November should continue this summer's warm trend in most of Saskatchewan.

"We think that it will be milder than normal during that three-month period," said Phillips. "Of course, it's September-October relative, it's not like July warmth. We're talking about how much warmer than normal in September and October."

Forecasts are pointing to warmer-than-normal temperatures for September, October and November in Saskatchewan. (Environment Canada)

As for the winter, though long-range forecasts can be a little tricky to nail down, the outlook for this year has winter following suit from the fall.

"Generally, our early look at the first part of winter doesn't look too bad," said Phillips."In winter, we thought we were going to see an El Nino — that's the warmer water in the Pacific. That's kind of disappeared, but it may come back."

The Canadian Farmers' Almanac is also calling for milder weather this winter, says editor Sandi Duncan.

"It looks like above-normal temperatures with moderate snowfall," said Duncan. "Last winter, mother nature threw a curve ball into our long-range winter outlooks, because it was kind of a weird winter. People that follow our forecasts say we are about 75 to 85 per cent accurate."

Regardless of the warmer fall and winter outlooks, the weather will vary day to day.

Winter is coming to the province, but it likely won't be one of those brutal winters Saskatchewan is famous for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christy Climenhaga

CBC Meteorologist

Christy Climenhaga, CBC Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatchewan's Meteorologist, covers weather and climate change stories for the prairies.

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition

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