Forecast has a bit of everything

Storms ahead | U.S. forecaster calls for mixes of above, below normal

Farmers could be holding onto their hats when inspecting fields this summer.

“We think that the occurrences of thunderstorms and possibly severe weather is going to be higher than average,” said Jack Boston, expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.

The forecaster predicts a summer of contrasts unfolding in the Prairies.

“Part of the region is going to be cool and wet and the other part of the region is going to be warm and dry,” said Boston.

He predicts above normal temperatures in southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and a portion of southwestern Manitoba.

The building heat near the U.S. border will clash with cooler than normal temperatures in central and northern Saskatchewan and central Manitoba.

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That could lead to stormy weather for the area trapped between the contrasting weather systems, a region running from central Alberta and central Saskatchewan through to southern Manitoba, especially in June and July.

Severe thunderstorm winds and large hail usually peak in July in the Prairies but can be common in June and August as well.

Boston expects plenty of storms capable of causing extensive crop damage.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of tornadoes, either,” he said.

Much of the hot area will see below normal precipitation while the cool area will experience above normal rainfall.

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Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc., doesn’t agree with AccuWeather’s summer forecast.

He anticipates frequent precipitation throughout the Prairies with the exception of north and central Alberta and possibly northwestern Saskatchewan.

“Everybody else will see plenty of rain,” he said.

Lerner expects temperatures to be slightly below normal throughout the region with the temperature contrast setting up much farther south, possibly below the northern U.S. Plains.

“The ridge of high pressure in the U.S. will be much more subdued than it was last year, so the heat will stay south of the border and so will a lot of the storminess,” he said.

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