Another heat wave is in effect, but for many it may feel like we may have never left the previous one, as there's been a heatwave almost every week this summer.

Meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada Terri Lang said the recent heat wave could once again break records in what has been a record-breaking season, as the forecasted temperatures this week could be at or above the current hottest days recorded.

  August 14 August 15 August 16 August 17
2023 Forecasted high 34°C 34°C 30°C 35°C
Record high 34°C (2021) 34.4°C (1961) 33.3°C (1962) 33°C (2001)

Despite more potential record-breaking heat on the way and all the heat warnings we've faced this year, Lang explained that this summer hasn't been close to approaching all time heat records. While May doesn't count as summer for Environment and Climate Change Canada, Lang said our May was the second hottest May ever recorded in 139 years, and June was the 10th hottest. That blistering start may have changed our perception of the summer heat we've seen, as July and August have been hotter, but not comparable to May and June.

"July actually wasn't all that outstanding with respect to the heat, the 23rd warmest on record, and August hasn't been that overly warm yet either, we've only had one 30-degree temperature so far, so we've kind of been cooling off as the summer has progressed. When we first started May off, we thought, 'Oh my goodness, what kind of summer are we going to have?' But it hasn't been too bad as we've progressed along," she said.

That isn't to discount the heat we have experienced, as even 23rd out of 139 years is pretty high. The heat also brought plenty of dryness and struggles for farmers, but statistically, it hasn't been an egregiously dry year.

  • May: 31st driest year
  • June 52nd driest year
  • July: 42nd driest

Despite the stats saying our dryness hasn't been a huge issue, Lang says the stats don't tell the whole story, as we did get a lot of rain but it happened in short bursts amid long periods of drought conditions.

"(Usually) there's a lot of widespread rain that happens and those usually occur in May and June, but this year we didn't see those. So those widespread rains never occurred, so it was so hit-and-miss with those thundershowers. In the Strathmore area, there is very little in the way of rain, the dryness has really been exacerbated in the drought conditions." 

While there's no doubt it's been a hot and dry summer, Lang added our perception of how hot it is may be influenced by the fact that heat warning criteria has changed recently. Before, we wouldn't get as many warnings but the criteria has been changed to needing two days in a row of 29°C temperatures or higher, along with overnight lows of 14°C or warmer. This lower criteria means it's much easier to hit a warning than it was before.

Despite the upcoming stretch, the weekend forecast is calling for significantly cooler days with possible rain and potential storms.

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