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This article was published 3/9/2018 (911 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The summer of 2018 in Winnipeg will go into the books as hot, dry and deadly.

There were 26 days of 30 C or higher temperatures in May through August — more than the total of the past three summers — combined with only about half of the usual precipitation and an EF-4 tornado that touched down Aug. 3 in Alonsa, claiming the life of 77-year-old Jack Furrie.

"When you look back in the Winnipeg weather record history, which goes back to 1873, this summer ranks as the 15th warmest summer on record — which ties it with 1932 for that distinction," said Rob Paola, a retired Environment Canada meteorologist who continues his pursuit of climatology on his website (robsobs.ca) and Twitter (@robsobs).

 

"It was definitely a warm summer, and we had a lot of hot days. We had 26 days of 30 C or more (May-August) and that is the most since 1988, when we had 34, which was the most on record that we’ve ever had."

The average temperature in Winnipeg for the meteorological summer of June 1-Aug. 31 was 19.7 C (normal 18.5 C). However, the average temperature for July was 28 C (normal 25.9 C) and the average temperature for August was 27 C (normal 25.4).

"That makes it the warmest summer since 2012, so we dropped a bit from the first half of the summer when we had the warmest first half since 1988," Paola said. "Our second half wasn’t as warm as our first half, so when you average that out for the entire summer, this ends up as the warmest summer in six years instead of 30 years."

Daniel Cottyn attaches a tow line to the wreckage of a camper in the lake at Margaret Bruce Beach and campground after a tornado hit the Alonsa area in August. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)</p>

Daniel Cottyn attaches a tow line to the wreckage of a camper in the lake at Margaret Bruce Beach and campground after a tornado hit the Alonsa area in August. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)

Paola noted even though the average temperature in June-August wasn’t as hot as it may have felt, Winnipeg did have many extremely hot days.

Temperatures hit 30 C or higher during 10 days in August, six in July, four in June, and six in May.

"Those included our record maximum of 37.5 C (on Aug. 12) which was the hottest temperature of the summer (in Winnipeg) and that was a record high that day," Paola said. "In terms of hot weather, we certainly had a lot of it this year but it was balanced by fairly cool or comfortable nights."

The coldest day in August was Aug. 27, with a temperature of 16.9 C.

Winnipeg’s hottest day in July was July 14, with a temperature of 33.6 C. July’s coldest day was July 25, at 17.1 C.

Natalie Hasell of Environment Canada said it’s been "an active summer" with weather.

"We have had severe thunderstorms, we have had heat, we have had smoke both from a distance and closer to home," she said. "The Alonsa tornado on Aug. 3 did cause a fatality and several injures, but overall I’d say we were extremely lucky, despite that.

Jacky Maan, owner of Regal Grass, mows one of his customer’s overly dried out lawns in Linden Woods in August. (Andrew Ryan / Free Press files)</p></p>

Jacky Maan, owner of Regal Grass, mows one of his customer’s overly dried out lawns in Linden Woods in August. (Andrew Ryan / Free Press files)

"It could have been far, far worse than it actually was in terms of how many people could have been injured more gravely or worse."

Environment Canada said the Aug. 3 tornado was the strongest confirmed this year in North America.

The tornado was estimated to be on the ground for about 20 minutes as it ripped a path of about 800 metres wide through the communities of Alonsa, Silver Ridge, and Margaret Bruce Beach. The EF-4 designation, the second highest measure, means there were maximum winds between 267 and 322 km/h that tossed around vehicles and trailers, destroyed houses, cabins and other structures and caused dangerous flying debris.

The Alonsa tornado has been estimated to have had maximum winds of 270 to 280 km/h.

With the heat came dry weather in Winnipeg and its surrounding area that has impacted crops, gardens and lawns. Precipitation in June through August in Winnipeg was 134 millimetres, as opposed to the normal of 247 mm — 54 per cent of what would normally occur.

"The big story of this summer was not only the heat but the dryness," Paola said. "Combined with the heat, that’s led to some stress for crops, I’ve heard. If we get into a more normal pattern (for fall), that means we should get more frequent weather systems so that may bring about more in terms of precipitation and more normal amounts of precipitation."

Paola said seasonal normal temperatures are expected for September.

"There’s no 30-degree weather in sight. We may squeeze out one more by mid-September," he said. "It looks like above-normal warmth will be concentrated over the east coast and Southern Ontario. We’ll be closer to normal here in southern Manitoba."

Both Paola and Hasell noted these data do not include Aug. 31.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca