Researchers say a changing climate in Saskatchewan will mean more tornadoes and more rain, but also milder winters.
John Pomeroy is Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change and director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan. He says the jet streams are further north than they've ever been before, which is allowing hot and humid air from storms in the Gulf of Mexico to reach Saskatchewan.
Over the last 100 years so, the province would typically get about 250 millimetres of rain the summer then another 100 millimetres equivalent to rainfall in snow.
A few summers ago, though, Saskatoon got 650 millimetres of rain.
Pomeroy says the threat is that the province's infrastructure is designed for drier conditions.
"That's the challenge. How do we rebuild Saskatchewan so it's a safe and reasonable place to live in a wetter environment?" says Pomeroy, adding that many roads, dams, and farm yards are being destroyed by flooding.
On the flip side, Pomeroy says farmers whose crops survive the storms and the flooding are doing really well.
The humid air is allowing farmers south of Saskatoon to grow canola, something that would not have been seen decades ago.
Pomeroy says Saskatchewan farmers might even be able to start harvesting corn if they chose to invest in the equipment.
"The severity of winter in North America is controlled by the area covered by snow over the whole continent. Right now, it's really small," says Pomeroy.
He doesn't know how long it will last, but it's consistent with climate change predictions for the area, so Pomeroy says it's likely we'll see more of it.
"We used to get a lot of one-day intense events from a summer thunderstorm. It would last a few hours and then it would be done. Now, we're getting multiple-day rainfall events that go for a good part of the week."
That's led to the intense flooding Saskatchewan has seen over the past couple of years. That weather also breeds tornadoes. Saskatchewan saw 30 of them this summer, including eight on June 15, according to Environment Canada.
The Canadian Press