This summer has been one weather warning after another: with a constant barrage of thunderstorm watches and warnings, heat warnings, tornados and more, it seems like it's been a never-ending warning of some kind. And true to form, we are at risk of a thunderstorm tonight, which is coming off of the storm last night, which comes right after a heat warning during Stampede weekend.

While dealing with severe weather isn't fun, Meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada Kyle Fougere explains that this isn't unusual for this time of year.

"To have severe weather in Alberta... that's what our summer is. We get a lot of severe weather here in the province, and the peak of our season really is the month of July, and it seems to really ramp up a lot of times towards the end of July, a lot of times lasting into early August. And by the time we reach about the end of the second week of August, the amount of severe thunderstorms we have tends to drop off. So we are still right in the peak of our severe thunderstorm season, so it's not unusual to have this type of weather in Alberta this time of year."

Fougere explained that pressure systems are the driving force behind severe weather. He said high pressure systems will build up heat and moisture over several days, and as this builds up energy it creates the conditions needed to unleash a storm.

"This pattern is very common in the summer period where we have a ridge of high pressure building in the province, it'll stick around for several days and the heat builds over consecutive days under these ridges of high pressure. And then when that ridge breaks down, when you have a low pressure system come through, all that heat and moisture, that is the fuel for thunderstorms. And it can release that when you have these triggering systems, like a low pressure system, a cold front, sometimes even just the daytime heating can do it."

Given that July is always a hot month, Fougere expects every year to have severe conditions, and this year hasn't been any different. In fact, at the moment, we are a bit under the average, although we do have an entire month of summer left.

"On average, Alberta has over 100 severe weather reports from thunderstorms in the summer time. And here at Environment and Climate Change Canada from our storm prediction centre, we issue over 1500 watches and warnings on average. This is Alberta weather."

While the storms are expected, something a bit more unusual this summer was La Niña. La Niña is part of a weather cycle involving El Niño, where we can get colder or warmer conditions. Some years, it can also just be neutral as well. While It's not unusual to experience La Niña, it isn't an annual event, so this summer was more unique because of it.

"It was very cool and rainy and below normal for the most part, and that is because we were experiencing La Nina. It's been a tale of two summers for us. The first half of the summer was cooler and wetter and we had really significant rainfalls, especially in the Calgary area. As we've transitioned into the second half of summer it's been a little warmer than normal, it's been a little bit drier than normal."

As summer goes on, we should expect more storms to hit as well. We could see it calm down halfway through August, but for now make sure you brace yourself for more potential severe conditions.

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