City on pace to exceed June precipitation totals

Rain clouds loom over Fort St. John.

Reported totals varied, but the local airport weather station posted 3.4 millimeters of rain on Wednesday, leaving the monthly precipitation total at 9.4 millimeters , and on pace to easily exceed the June norm of 65.6 millimeters.

This is traditionally the second highest precipitation month of the year, and it is also the beginning of the key moisture period for Peace Country farmers and ranchers. The annual three-month summer average is 192 millimeters, or about 40 per cent of the calendar year total of 444.

The airport station is on pace to post 94 millimeters by the end of the month, which is certainly not an out-of-the-question total for this area — and you only have to go back four years for statistical proof — 176.5 millimeters in 2011.
The station also recorded above average totals in 2012 and 2013, with postings of 84.5, and 117.3 millimeters, but local crop producers need only go back to last summer to underline the validity for their moisture concerns.

Beginning in June, the airport station recorded three consecutive months of below normal precipitation, with a record low of only three millimeters in August.

It resulted in a three-month total of only 79.6 millimeters — about 41 percent of the norm — and there are concerns something similar could occur this summer.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Lisa Caldwell confirms new computer generated summer projections show temperatures across Western Canada remaining above normal for the period, but there’s more geographical variation in the local precipitation model.

“Our outlook comes to just almost normal to just above normal,” Caldwell said.

“If you flew a little bit further north to sort of the Grande Prairie area onto the Alberta side, they’re trying to show just slightly below normal for the next three months.”

Still, this area is infamous for sudden and dramatic summertime downpours. In late June of 2011 and 2013, the airport station recorded two day totals of 94.1 and 63.1 millimeters, respectively.

That noted, Caldwell says of precipitation forecasts: “I always take them with a grain of salt.”

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