Hot or cold? Wet or dry? Meteorologist calls Manitoba summer forecast ‘coin flip’

Warm summer temperatures are not that far away despite some parts of the province receiving a late spring dusting of snow Friday

Meteorological summers begins at the start of June, but it’s unknown whether or not Manitoba will see warmer-than-average temperatures between June and August or a continuation of the wet weather we’ve seen the past few weeks, says Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The province has an equal chance of having above- or below-average temperature, and there’s an equal chance of receiving above or below average precipitation.

“It’s a non-forecast is what it is, which is sort of unfortunate,” Lang said.

Parts of the northern United States are forecast to be hot and dry like Manitoba has seen the past couple of years, but Lang isn’t so sure we will see similar summer conditions once more.

Winnipeg recorded 35 days of 30 C last year, which tied 1988 for the warmest summer on record in the provincial capital. The city has only had a few days this spring where the temperature reached 20 C. 

It’s been cool and wet.

The recent string of large rainfall events that followed one of the snowiest winters in parts of the province has been met with dismay and led to flooding in parts of southern, eastern and western Manitoba, as well as in the Interlake.

Winnipeg has seen more than 220 millimetres of precipitation — rain and snow — since the start of April, making it the fifth-wettest spring on record and the wettest since 1974.

Lang says the high precipitation numbers and cooler temperatures stems from La Niña, an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon that produces colder weather.

“It’s unfortunate for southern Manitoba because they were just really where the weather pattern set up … especially much of April and May in that bullseye of where the jet stream was bringing weather systems through just one after another,” she said.

An aerial image shows the flooding from the Red River outside of Morris, Man., which is protected by a ring dike, on May 11. (Trevor Lyons/CBC)

But the La Niña is expected to weaken, potentially as early as next week with temperatures forecast to creep near the 30-year average daytime highs, which is about 21 C in parts of southern Manitoba.

With warmer temperatures on the horizon, the chance of severe weather rises. And with that, comes more chances to see large dumps of precipitation as we head into summer.

“It’s that coin flip,” Lang said. “When it comes to thunderstorms, they can come through and dump quite a bit of moisture into one area and then completely miss another.”

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