Potentially record-breaking heat in Saskatoon could be followed by frost over the long weekend
Published Monday, May 17, 2021 12:40PM CST Last Updated Monday, May 17, 2021 6:58PM CST
SASKATOON -- Saskatoon is expected to break a temperature record set in 1901 by reaching a high of 32 on Monday, according to Environment Canada.
With that heat comes a message of caution.
“Just a few months ago it was minus 40, and here we are,” said Environment Canada’s Terri Lang. “I don't think we’re quite climatized to the heat quite yet, so I think people need to take it easy in the heat because I don't think they'll know that it can wear them out pretty fast.”
“Studies have shown that a couple days of heat with no chance of recovery, like a really warm night in between, no chance to recover, that's when the effects really start to be felt."
Lang says central Saskatchewan is seeing crossover conditions; high temperatures and low humidity, that can lead to grass fires.
“If a fire gets going it'll grow very quickly, it'll grow explosively and we are expecting winds over the next couple days as well, so if it gets set off it'll take off,” she said.
A dry heat is projected at least until the end of July.
“Dryness tends to beget more dryness,” she said. “If there's more moisture in the ground, there's more moisture to evaporate and more moisture to make clouds and rain and that type of thing.”
“It was a dry fall into a dry winter and now into a dry spring, so we're really needing some moisture.”
Lang says there’s a system that looks promising to bring rain next week, but so far this spring the systems that are supposed to bring rain haven’t been bringing rain.
“If you look at the drought monitor map, parts of Saskatchewan are in extreme drought, bordering on exceptional drought.”
Lang says this blast of heat won’t last long, with frost expected in Saskatoon for the long weekend, and snow in southern parts of the province.
“What's happening is the jetstream is starting to change,” she said. “We're getting a big trough that's digging off the coast of British Columbia, but it's pumping up the ridge overtop of Saskatchewan, like it's snowing in northern Saskatchewan, there’s freezing rain right now.”
“Here we are basking in these warm temperatures and that's because of this imbalance, and we'll see later on, midweek, that trough that we're talking about that's giving cold temperatures to British Columbia, that's going to swing through Saskatchewan. We're going to see quite a drastic change.”
The City of Saskatoon says spray pads will be open on June 1, public outdoor pools will open later on in the first week of June, and paddling pools will be open on July 5.
Dr. Alexander Wong says contrary to what was suggested in 2020, the transmission of COVID-19 isn’t affected by warmer or colder climates.
He says the higher temperatures should encourage more outdoor activity, which is a good thing in the fight against COVID-19 – as long it’s done safely.
“I think the same sort of precautions that we've kind of gone through over and over and over again still really apply,” he said. “It's critically important for people to follow the public health guidance, physically distance as appropriate.”
Dr. Wong says there’s still value in wearing a mask if distancing can’t be maintained.
“There's a lot of guidance coming from the (United States), as well obviously the CDC last week, talking about removing the need for masks for fully vaccinated persons around other fully vaccinated persons, but we haven't seen that guidance yet here in Canada,” he said.
“I think we're going to end up taking a more cautious approach overall.”