August 1, 2015


Local

Recordbreaking rain in June to give way to sunshine

Overland flooding spills over Sandison Road near the Brandon Municipal Airport on Sunday after rain fell almost non-stop throughout the weekend. The airport was closed due to the flooding.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN

Overland flooding spills over Sandison Road near the Brandon Municipal Airport on Sunday after rain fell almost non-stop throughout the weekend. The airport was closed due to the flooding.

Hang in there, we’re about to dry out and warm up. Promise.

Dave Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, is convinced summer’s delayed a month. But it’s not drowned out.

In an interview by phone Monday, the country’s best known weather prognosticator/ historian says a long hot, dry weather pattern is moving our way.

And it will probably stay put, like the rain did.

"I think we’re going to see something better in July," Phillips said.

"It’s almost as if Mother Nature has a calendar. Come Wednesday, you’ll have wall-to-wall sunshine. Finally summer is going to arrive and it’s just a one-off. It’s dry, sunny and warm, absolutely what the doctor ordered," Phillips said.

Forecast highs range from 25 C Thursday to 31 C Saturday.

Meanwhile, this June will go down as the gloomiest June ever: Brandon broke three records for the month, for the wettest June, for the wettest month ever, and for the wettest spring ever.

By noon Monday, Brandon was wading in 249 millimetres of rain for the month.

That’s about three times the normal rainfall for the month. The normal? It’s 80.7 mm.

Seasonally? Normal rainfall in April, May and June adds up to 165 mm.

Again, by noon Monday, 372 mm had fallen since April 1 on Brandon.

After nearly non-stop rain since Friday, Environment Canada clocked the last drop in the waterlogged city at about 3 p.m.

Not only is it the wettest June on record, it’s the wettest month on record, too, taking into account records from two main sources: the Brandon Airport since 1941 and the Canadian Department of Agriculture station there, where records date back to 1890.

"What we know is this is the wettest month ever," Phillips said.

That breaks the previous record for wettest month set at Brandon’s Department of Agriculture station, June 2005 at 225 mm.

The rest of the province was wet but not enough to break records.

Regionally, Yorkton, Sask., shared that distinction with Brandon. The small city on the eastern border with Manitoba recorded 240 mm of rain in June, far and away higher than the previous record of 186 mm in August, 1942.

That’s the other thing that stands out, Phillips said.

Records aren’t just breaking. They’re shattering.

"I used to get excited when we’d break a record by a 1/10 of a degree. . . This was just smashing it. Clobbering the record," he said.

The best reason to explain the magnified weather is the change in how the jet stream moves. It used to migrate from south of us in the winter to north of us in summer, springing back and forth a bit like a bungee cord.

It doesn’t anymore. It meanders, like it’s loopy.

And because weather rides the jet stream, the patterns reflect each other.

It also makes sense, Phillips said, that June’s the wettest month on the Canadian prairies: It’s when the jet stream takes its summer trip north. Since the jet stream is wandering rather than snapping back and forth, whatever system is riding it hangs around and in June, that means rain.

"I used to say the best thing you could say about Canada’s weather is it was hit and run. It didn’t stand around and torment you. If it becomes extreme, it stands around," Phillips said.

The feeling is we’re looking a new normal with changing weather patterns which we can’t predict the way we used to, but whether it’s a fluke or a trend, Phillips can’t say.

"The pressure systems just take their sweet time moving across . . .It’s almost like a water torture test. . . or an unwanted house guest. It just won’t go," he said.

Environment Canada’s website reported earlier Monday 258 mm of rain fell on Brandon in June 1902. That is believed to be an error, according to Phillips’ review of records at Brandon’s airport and its agriculture station.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

 

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