Calgary Alberta Seasons
The photographs below were taken on the first day of each month at approximately 11:00AM over a one year period in 2014. The photo’s were taken from the bow river east ridge located in the community of Mountain Park Estates Calgary, Alberta. See map below. Views are looking southwest showing the bow river valley and the rocky mountains and northwest towards downtown Calgary.
Weather in Alberta
According to Environment Canada, Alberta has more sunshine annually than any other province or territory in Canada (312 days). We also have the most sunny days in the winter months (115 days). We’re ranked number one for having the most comfortable weather, overall in Canada.
We also experience several Chinooks during the winter months. Rain or snow never lasts long and travel is rarely interrupted.
Summer Temperature Ranges (June to August) 15° C to 23° C (60° F to 73° F)
Winter Temperature Ranges (November to February) -8° C to -25° C (18° F to -13° F).
Precipitation, Annual Averages southeastern Alberta: 30 cm (11.8 inches) northern Alberta: 40 – 45 cm (15.7 – 17.7 inches) Foothills Region: 55 – 60 cm (21.6 – 23.6 inches)
Sunshine, Annual Averages southern Alberta: 1900 hours northern Alberta: 2300 hours
Monthly Temperature Ranges.
(-22 to -6 degrees) Full on winter with cold temperatures and frequent snowfall. February can be the coldest month of the year. Roads are icy and cars need to be warmed up. Winter activities are at there best. Superb skiing often in sunny conditions. Chinook arches are frequent with temperatures rising from -15 to +5 within a few hours.
(-9 to -2 degrees) Cold days and colder nights, winter clothing with some medium weight worn during the day. The feel of spring is in the air near the middle and the end of the month. Best spring skiing as most of the snow falls now in the mountains. Everyone but skiers are tired of winter by now.
(2 to 5 degrees) Milder with cold evenings and morning frost. Medium weight clothing and shell jacket at night. The feeling of spring is here. Snow disappears except in high mountain areas. Ideal Spring skiing conditions with mountains still receiving a lot of snowfall. Snow has started to melt off the prairies. Canadian Geese can be seen during the day and heard at night flying north. The odd Robin starts to appear. Birds are building nests. Albertans are cleaning up their yards, lawn, flower beds and garages.
(8 to 11 degrees) Warm days with cool evenings chance of morning frost. Medium weight clothing at the beginning of the month and summer clothing near the end of the month. Outdoor spring and summer activities begin. Trees and bushes are in bloom. Gardens are planted near the middle of the month. Rivers still run clear as run off hasn’t started from higher elevations. Moderate showers start near the end of the month. White Pelicans arrive from Florida, some of these spend their summer on the Bow River. Most campgrounds open by the end of the month.
(12 to 30 degrees) Warm and hot with warm to cool evenings. Sumer clothing with shell Jacket in mountain areas. In June the rivers run high and muddy from mountain run off and some rain during the month. Rivers clear up near the middle of July and run clear until next June.
(9 to 13 degrees) Warm days with cool evenings. Light to medium clothing with shell jacket in evenings. Travel is ideal, parks are less crowded. Weather and sky’s are generally clear. Autumn foliage colors start at the end of the month.
(3 to 8 degrees) Cool days with cold nights. Medium to heavy weight clothing. Snow starts to fall. RV’s and vehicles should be winterized. Night skies are clear most of the month. Canadian geese can be seen during the day and heard at night flying south.
(-8 to -1 degrees) Cold with morning frost. Snow now accumulates instead of melting. Ski resorts open and by months end winter is here.
The photos above show a Chinook Arch over Calgary Alberta Canada. Chinooks only occur in a few geographical locations on earth. The clouds arch is created by distant warm coastal winds. Adiabatic warming of downward moving air coming off the leeward side of the rocky mountains. The local natives called chinooks “snow eater”. A strong chinook can melt all ground snow in one day.
It’s not uncommon for Calgary’s winter temperature to rise within 30 degrees in a matter of hours. The record chinook 24 hour temperature rise was on January 15, 1972 in Loma, Montana. Temperature rose from -48°C (-56°F) to 9°C (49°F). In 1962 Pincher Creek located 200kms south of Calgary, temperature rose by 41°C (from -19°C to 22°C) in one hour. chinook winds can obtain speeds in excess of hurricane force rated at 120kmph. The most powerful recorded chinook wind was 171kmph in Lethbridge, Alberta. Trains have been known to be derailed in this area.
During the winter, driving can be treacherous as the wind blows snow across roadways sometimes causing roads to vanish and snowdrifts to pile up higher than 1 meter. Empty semi trucks driving along Highway 3 and other routes in southern Alberta have been blown over by high gusts of chinook winds. City driving can also be treacherous when rising temperatures melt snow and ice on the roads. Streets become slushy and windshield wiper fluid is a must. Long time Calgarian’s rarely get caught with no wiper fluid. Strong chinooks are usually followed by more bad weather and snow fall.