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Above-average temperatures extending into fall

“If this were July, we’d be talking about a heat dome right now."
20220930 Standalone Banff JH 0009
Kevin Phelan, left, and Rebecca Cummins from Ireland enjoy the autumn scenery at Cascade Ponds in Banff National Park on Friday (Sept. 30). JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

BOW VALLEY – The dog days of summer are extending into the fall in the Bow Valley.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Banff has come close to breaking several temperature records over the past week-and-a-half, with temperatures climbing 10 to 12 degrees Celsius above normal for this time of year.

The mercury hit 26.6 C on Sept. 28, just 0.1 C off the record that was established in 1949. Throughout Alberta, there were 31 new record highs that day, with Medicine Hat being the warmest at 33.8 C, breaking its record of 33.3 established in 1909.

“I haven’t found any records for Banff, but you’ve come close a few times,” said Natalie Hasell, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“There’s been some above normal days, since normals for this time of year would suggest that your daytime high should be around 13 C and we’re seeing 24s, so definitely something to be said about that.”

On Sept. 27, the temperature in Banff climbed to 24.6 C, compared to the record high of 26 C set in 1967. Sept. 26 was another warm one, with the temperature reaching 25.2 C, just shy of the record 26 degrees C in 1943.

Warmer weather continued into the first few days of October, with above-normal temperatures forecast for the rest of this week.

Hasell said the temperature is expected to reach 20 C on Oct. 7.

“That’s pretty warm, not as warm as what we saw last week or the weekend, but warm,” she said.

The warmer weather is also being seen in overnight temperatures, such as a low of 9 C on Oct 4.

“Normally this time of year it would be right around the freezing mark,” said Hasell.

The warmer weather across most of Alberta, parts of Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and southern B.C is attributed to a ridge of high pressure.

“If this were July, we’d be talking about a heat dome right now,” said Hasell.

Banff also saw well below normal precipitation for September, recording 23.5 millimetres of rain – of which 8.8 mm fell on Sept. 13.

Hasell said the Canadian climate normals (1971-2000) indicate that Banff usually has about 37 mms of rain and 5.7 centimetres of snow.

“Certainly 23.5 mms is quite dry,” she said.

Although there are normal temperature variations in seasons and between years, Hasell said climate change is playing a big part.

“It is suggested that overall each season is probably getting a bit warmer or a lot warmer depending on which season and where you are in the country as we see climate change and global warming really take effect,” she said.

“Areas that see extremes will see further extremes, areas that are dry will be drier, areas that are wet will be wetter, hot will be hotter, cold colder and areas like the Canadian prairies that see a little bit of everything through the year will see a lot of variability.”