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Fall brings mixed bag of weather for Western Canada

AccuWeather’s fall forecast anticipates rains in B.C., continued drought on the Prairies
A close-up shot of fallen of autumn leaves carpeting the ground. (File photo)

It may feel like fall is still weeks away, but meteorological autumn starts next Wednesday (Sept. 1).

With the change of seasons nearly upon us, AccuWeather has released its 2021 fall forecast for Canada and it’s a mixed bag for Western Canada.

RELATED: Warm, dry summer expected across much of Canada, Weather Network predicts

This fall will be heavily influenced by the La Nina weather phenomenon where surface waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator are abnormally cool. La Nina influences the strength of the Pacific jet stream and changes the direction and strength of storms.

“The jet stream is like a pathway for storms, thus we are expecting a stormier fall, especially across the western half of British Columbia, with above-normal rainfall,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

Increased precipitation is good news for firefighters battling blazes across much of B.C., but there is some bad news: south-central B.C. is expected to experience stronger winds that could challenge firefighting efforts and heavy rains in burn scar areas could lead to debris flows and landslides.

RELATED: 2021 B.C.’s 3rd worst fire season on record for total area burned

AccuWeather is predicting cooler than normal temperatures for B.C., Yukon and Alberta driven by cooler air coming from Alaska. When those cooler temperatures meet La Nina storms, it could cause early snow in the Coastal Mountain Range and the Rocky Mountains.

Meanwhile, the southern Prairies are likely to have much drier, windier conditions — bad news for areas that have suffered drought conditions for much of the summer. Record high temperatures and drying winds have contributed to pockets of extreme drought in Central Alberta.

RELATED: Prairie farmers pray for rain as drought, grasshoppers ravage crops and pastures

Drought conditions are posing a serious challenge for farmers, leading to poor crop development, pastures becoming dormant, and surface water supplies drying up. According to the Canada Drought Monitor, over 1.5 million cattle are now within the Severe Drought category in the Prairie region; this represents 57 per cent of Alberta’s, 94 per cent of Saskatchewan’s and almost 100 per cent of Manitoba’s beef cattle.

Throughout the summer, most of Western Canada has been under drought conditions ranging from moderate to ‘exceptional’ drought conditions that normally occur only once every 50 years.


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