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Winnipeg's unusually dry summer


It was mainly clear skies and warm temperatures in southern Manitoba this summer
It was mainly clear skies and warm temperatures in southern Manitoba this summer

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

September 21, 2011 — There was very little precipitation in Winnipeg, Manitoba this summer. But was it the city's driest on record?

An unusual lack of rain in Winnipeg left lawns parched
An unusual lack of rain in Winnipeg left lawns parched

After a soggy spring that triggered significant flooding in southern Manitoba, the region had a very different summer. In fact, it was one of the province's driest seasons on record.

David Phillips is Environment Canada's Senior Climatologist. He says the lack of rain in Winnipeg has been unusual.

“If you take a look at June, July and August, I think the grand total is 93 mm of precipitation,” Phillips told The Weather Network. “I mean, that's about 40 per cent of the rainfall they would normally have at that particular time.”

In July, only 10 mm of rain fell in Winnipeg. Still, Phillips says the city was just shy of breaking a record.

“If you look at it, it's not the driest on record,” he explains. “I think back in 1961 that June, July, August had 91 mm of rain. But it has certainly been the second-driest in about 82 years in Winnipeg.”

While there weren't too many beach-goers complaining about the weather, the dry spell wasn't ideal for lawns and gardens in the province. At one point, the conditions were so extreme that Manitoba officials banned all open fires across a wide swath of the southeast.

Locals enjoying the dry conditions in southern Manitoba
Locals enjoying the dry conditions in southern Manitoba

Phillips says a steady flow of warm, humid air from the south kept the province dry through June, July and August.

“High pressure areas in the centre part of our continent has been driven warm and very dry air northward, and Manitoba has been the beneficiary of that,” he says.

According to The Weather Network's Fall Outlook 2011, above-average rainfall is forecast in extreme southeastern Manitoba through Autumn. Elsewhere in the province, the temperatures and precipitation amounts are expected to be seasonably normal.

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