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Better weather on the way

Charlotte Hilling
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 14, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The summer started slowly and didn't really pick up from there, but senior climatologist David Phillips of Environment Canada, said normal to above average temperatures are on the way.

NNSL photo/graphic

Roger Lelievre is used to working in the elements, and says the weather has been ideal for summer construction. - Charlotte Hilling/NNSL photo

"Summer isn't over, so don't write the obituary quite yet," said Phillips.

He said from mid-August to mid-September Yellowknife can expect warmer than normal conditions.

While Yellowknife has had temperatures one or two degrees below the average for the summer months, Phillips said average temperatures are predicted for the fall.

He said that while summer in the NWT capital has not been exceptional, it has been temperate and predictable in contrast to the rest of Canada.

"British Columbia and the Yukon have had too much summer, the Prairies haven't had enough, and we're still waiting for ours here in the east," he said.

"The place that has had the closest to what you would expect to be normal weather is kind of you guys!"

As a result of the cooler temperatures and marginally higher precipitation levels, there has been a record breaking lull in wildfires in the North Slave region, with just two incidents at of the end of July.

This summer, said Phillips, "was comfortable, it was seasonally warm, and there's been enough precipitation to keep the wildfires at bay.

"There's been no major issues created by your weather, and that's good. I always say that sometimes too much or too little weather gets you into trouble."

As part of a construction team, Roger Lelievre knows what it is like to work outside, and said the summer's weather has been far from a hindrance.

"It's been cooler compared to last year, but it hasn't been too bad," he said. "In some ways the cooler days have been better because it's not too hot when we're working."

As for July's weather, Phillips said it was a month of two halves.

"July was almost schizophrenic in a way. You had one kind of July in the beginning and finally things warmed up in the second half," he said.

When averaged out, July's temperatures were about one degree below normal, with precipitation levels exactly average to previous years, at 35 millimetres.

As for August, Phillips said the temperatures have been about 1.5 C degrees higher than usual. While there has been more precipitation than is normal, he said most of that was a result of last Saturday's 15.5 millimetres of rain.

Based on Environment Canada's last weather model, the upcoming winter is expected to be milder than normal, thanks to an El Nino weather phenomenon - which has strengthened in the last month.

An updated weather model will be available September 1.