Finally! Sunshine returns to Calgary for the rest of the summer

Posted by Emma McIntosh on 8 August 2016

Calgarians were enjoying the return to warm sunny weather along the river near St. Patrick's Island on Wednesday July 20, 2016. The rest of the summer is forecast to be warmer and dryer.

After a soggy start to the summer, Calgarians finally have some sunshine to look forward to.

Warm temperatures and mostly clear skies are in the forecast for the week ahead, and, according to Environment Canada, trends suggest the rest of the summer will be drier than average.

“Not to say there might not be the odd thunderstorm floating around in the foothills,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Dan Kulak.

“It’s really the haphazard nature of summer weather.”

Temperatures for the next week are expected to be in the mid- to upper-20s, with only a touch of cloud going into the weekend.

That’s quite the change from the past few weeks of near-constant rain and thunderstorms, with frequent reports of large hail and funnel clouds in southern Alberta.

“It’s been a wet July,” Kulak said, adding that Calgary has already gone well over its average amount of rainfall for the entire month.  

But a change in weather appears to be underway. 

Though Kulak said relying on the seasonal forecast is a bit of a stretch — predictions for the next week are usually the most accurate, and thunderstorms are notoriously hard to anticipate long-term — the rest of the summer could be drier and warmer than normal. 

That’s good news for Calgarians as we move into prime festival-going season. 

Calgary Folk Festival, for one, is set to kick off under sunny skies Thursday. Though rain has been a frequent, if slightly unwanted, guest at the event in years past, organizers say they’re overjoyed about the beautiful conditions.

“It’s pretty perfect festival weather,” said executive director Debbi Salmonsen

“We are extremely excited and hopeful that today’s beautiful weather in Calgary will last through the weekend.” 

Though she’s expecting a sunny and clear weekend of music at Prince’s Island Park, Salmonsen said festival organizers are also prepared in case any storms roll in. 

“Expect the unexpected when it comes to Calgary’s weather,” she said with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Kulak said it’s important to remember that although funnel clouds and torrential downpours don’t seem to be ahead, the more common and localized thunderstorms are still a safety risk. People often stay outside longer than they should when lightning flashes overhead because it happens so frequently in Alberta. 

“Most of the lighting fatalities are from storms that don’t have any warnings associated with them,” Kulak said

“Tornadoes get a lot of press, hail causes a lot of damage and flooding can be devastating, but for fatalities, it’s lightning.” 

emcintosh@postmedia.com