Saturday marks the autumnal equinox and with it more normal to above-normal temperatures in Alberta.
Although this weekend may bring about the official first day of fall to many, meteorological fall starts on Sept. 1, around the same time a well-known café released their famed pumpkin spice latte, and the season is well underway.
Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said so far, September has had normal to above normal weather for most of the province and that doesn’t appear to change as we go through October.
Data from the ECCC one month temperature forecast, current for Sept. 25 to Oct. 23 showed the next four weeks has a suggestion of above-normal temperatures continuing, except for areas in the far northwest and in the south of the province, which do not have a dominant trend.
“We might see some precipitation over the next little while in northern Alberta which I think overall people will be happy with since things are still on fire there,” she said.
Hasell said there is “a system coming to British Columbia very soon,” and that system will make its way to northern Alberta possibly this weekend, and there might be more precipitation Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
“There are a few periods here and there with some precipitation it's hard to really say anything with great confidence beyond a week,” she said.
In the Edmonton region, Hasell said there is a suggestion that there will be some amount of precipitation almost every day.
“But whether any of this will actually come true. There's only a slightly better agreement by the time we get to the end of next week. So for Edmonton, I don't think we're expecting a whole lot of precipitation anytime soon,” she said.
The next two weeks will, however, see temperatures fall.
“If we look at the next two weeks or not this week, but next week, temperatures are already starting to cool down,” she said.
Although snow in October isn’t out of the question for Alberta generally, Hasell said she can’t say we will see snow in the next two weeks, and she also doesn’t have a tool that can give her information on when it will snow.
She said if snow is going to occur anywhere it would be in the northern parts of the province.
“I think most models are suggesting the temperature will be above zero…So if you were to get snow, it'll melt on contact. It won't be the type of snow that stays on the ground for long because your daytime temperatures should sit quite a bit warmer than that.
“I don't think we can say snow or I'm not going to say snow in the next two weeks at least. But remember, it's not unusual in Alberta to get snow almost at any time of year,” she said.
Despite the lack of snow in the forecast, Hasell said now is an excellent time to start preparing for winter.
“If you haven't already, you know schedule getting your winter tires. Check that the tiles on your roof are still fine for any trees that were damaged in a storm this summer. See to it but they are prepped properly or taken care of properly so that they aren't a hazard this coming season, right?” she said.
As we transition to a new season, it is also a good time to check emergency preparedness kits.
“Have what you need to be on your own for three days. Because if we talk about a big winter storm coming through that could close down roads and isolate areas, people who could help you might not be able to reach you. So you might need to be on your own for a bit and deal with the emergency,” she said.
She also suggests being aware of risks, looking at expiry dates on food, medication and water, and knowing safety procedures and muster points at work.
“So that you — I'll be really cheesy here — so that you can weather the storm,” she said.
Information on how to put together an emergency kit can be found at getprepared.gc.ca