Smoke impacts Alberta air quality

Smoke over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 August 2018 (Dearing)

Smoke from forest fires in British Columbia is streaming into Alberta resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Environment Canada says smoke conditions can change quickly during wildfires but air quality will be poor for the rest of the week.

Small children, seniors and anyone with chronic conditions are especially at risk.

British Columbia has declared a state of emergency with over 560 out-of-control wildfires forcing 3,000 residents from their homes and another 20,000 are under evacuation alert.

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Calgary sets new heat record

Palm tree flourishing in the heat, SE Calgary, AB, 11 August 2018 (Dearing)

Calgary hit an all-time record high on Friday when the thermometer climbed to 36.5 C which eclipsed the previous record of 36.1 C set 85 years ago.

Environment Canada had issued heat warnings for more than 100 regions in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Besides the heat, smoke from forest fires have caused poor air quality throughout Western Canada.

A cold front lowered temperatures in Alberta to near seasonal values for the weekend but the heat lingered in the eastern Prairies.

Rare tornado warning for Northwest NB!

Severe thunderstorms prompted Environment Canada to issue a rare tornado warning for northwestern New Brunswick late Tuesday afternoon.

The warning was in place for about 30 minutes and covered Victoria County including Grand Falls and Plaster Rock.

Meteorologists said a storm cell showed signs of rotation on radar which was capable of producing a tornado.

However, there were no reports of twisters actually touching the ground.

Summer heat sizzles Europe

A warm air mass from north Africa has caused temperatures to skyrocket into the 40s C throughout the Iberian Peninsula challenging all-time heat records in Europe.

Lisbon, Portugal set a new maximum for 04 August at 44 C and even overnight lows are barely falling below 30 C.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling wildfires in the Algarve region and in neighbouring Spain.

The water in some rivers has become so overheated that fish are dying on a mass scale.

Forecasters say the heat is moving east and will affect France and Germany over the next few days.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe is 48 C (118.4 F) set in Athens, Greece in July 1977.

Warm July for most of Canada

July was a warm month not only in Greater Moncton and New Brunswick but also throughout most of Canada – except for the Far North.

Montreal shattered its monthly record with a mean temperature of 24.1 C – three degrees above normal – and sadly dozens died from not having air conditioning.

Halifax and Toronto were both almost two degrees above normal while Vancouver and Calgary were each more than one degree higher than average.

Even normally cool St. John’s, Newfoundland was 1.6 degrees warmer in July with 15 days reaching daytime highs of 25 C or more.

Only in the Arctic were temperatures lower with Iqaluit, Nunavut nearly one degree below average and Resolute was off by 2.5 degrees – its coldest July since 1964.

July 2018 – Record heat!

Five Islands, Colchester County, NS, 24 July 2018 (Dearing)

July was definitely hot and often humid in Greater Moncton with Environment Canada confirming it was the warmest since 1940.

The average daily temperature was 21.4 C which is 2.6 degrees above normal.

An official heat wave in the first week was followed by numerous heat warnings being issued.

The thermometer climbed to 30 C or higher on 11 days during July and never dropped below 18 C during 7 overnights.

Rainfall was more than 30 percent below normal and much of the precipitation fell during thunderstorms.

JULY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  27.8°C

Average LOW  14.8°C

AVERAGE  21.4°C (about 2.6 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  34.2°C (05 July)

Extreme LOW  8.7°C (13 July)

RAINFALL  63.0 mm (more than 30 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Northeastern Ontario burning

ON fire

Helicopter drops water on eastern flank of Parry Sound 33 fire, 30 July 2018 (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)

A forest fire in northeastern Ontario is edging dangerously close to the Trans Canada Highway which links the northern and southern parts of the province.

Known as Parry Sound 33, the fire has burned more than 100 square kilometres since it began on 18 July and smoke has been creating poor air quality.

Many small communities, south of Greater Sudbury, are either being evacuated or are on alert to leave at a moment’s notice.

More than 600 firefighters from across North America have arrived to help battle this blaze and dozens of others across the region.

Wildfires rage in California

CAfires

Wildfires burning in northern California, 29 July 2018 (Google Maps)

The largest of California’s wildfires has claimed five lives and destroyed more than 500 buildings near the city of Redding in the northern part of the state.

Fire officials say the blaze has grown in size to about 360 square kilometres thanks to hot, dry conditions and gusty winds.

Sparks from a vehicle ignited the fire on 23 July and now many of Redding’s 92,000 residents are on evacuation notice.

Further south, crews have made progress containing a wildfire outside Yosemite National Park but heavy smoke has closed the Yosemite Valley until next weekend.

Furnace Friday

HotUK

Forecast highs in the UK for 27 July 2018 (Met Office)

The British, like Canadians, often give names to extreme weather events and ‘Furnace Friday’ is a fine example.

Meteorologists were expecting the all-time heat record of 38.5 C from 2003 would fall yesterday but thunderstorms rolled through and cooled things down.

Nevertheless, the UK Met Office reports a maximum of 34.7 C at Tibenham Airfield, Norfolk while it reached 35.3 C in Faversham, Kent – the hottest high of 2018 so far.

The heat wave has turned grass brown, triggered water restrictions, disrupted rail services and prompted a warning from officials to stay out of the sun.

Hail Calgary!

CalgaryhailJul18

A sea of white – hail – on a Calgary highway, 23 July 2018 (Global/C. Bills)

It looked like a snowstorm in July as violent thunderstorms rolled across southern Alberta on Monday covering Calgary in golf ball-sized hail.

Traffic was snarled during the afternoon commute as drivers coped with hail piling up like snow.

By early evening, the storms had passed and Environment Canada dropped severe thunderstorm warnings for the region.

Calgary is dubbed the hailstorm capital of Canada and south central Alberta is known to be one of the worst areas of the world for thunderstorms producing damaging hail.