A meteorologist with Weatherlogics says what is happening across the Prairies this week, even in parts of Manitoba, is extremely rare. Scott Kehler is referring to the fact that the remnants of Hurricane Hilary are being felt in our province.
Hurricane Hilary brought torrential rains and strong winds to Mexico's Pacific Coast before the storm swung into California and eventually reached Canada. Kehler says Hilary has already brought quite a bit of rain to southern Alberta and as much as two inches of rain into parts of Saskatchewan. The system has even stretched into central Manitoba.
"We should see precipitation, especially in the Parklands of Manitoba and the central Interlake as well before the system finally moves off to the east and we see the impacts of this long-lived tropical system dissipate," notes Kehler.
Kehler says to the best of his knowledge, there has never been a hurricane or a tropical storm that has moved through the Prairies. He explains that a tropical storm would never remain strong enough to be characterized as such when it gets this far north. That is because tropical systems require the heat and humidity from the ocean in order to strengthen.
But, Kehler says even the remnants of a tropical storm moving across the Prairies is nearly unprecedented.
"As my time as a meteorologist, I've never seen it happen," he notes. "And if you look back to the history books, there are actually very few cases in general where storms have hit Southern California. So, the probability that anything like this has happened before is not very high and certainly, it's not something that's happened in anyone's memory."
Kehler explains that the reason for this is because typically hurricanes and tropical storms hit the east coast of the United States or Canada. These storms will come from the east and then curve up to the north and back to the west as they get further north. Kehler notes even if they travel north, they usually do not get any higher than the central United States or eastern Canada. However, because Hurricane Hilary hit the west coast of the United States in California, the storm moved north and then when it got caught up in the westerly winds of the jet stream, it moved into western Canada.
"The main difference here is that we had the hurricane striking a very unusual area in Southern California and that gave it enough runway that it could actually make its way all the way onto the Prairies," he explains.
Kehler says while it is highly probable that there will be additional hurricanes off both the eastern and western coasts of Mexico this year, the chance of another storm following this path through California is very unlikely.
"Most of these hurricanes in the Pacific they hit the coast of Mexico and then dissipate, they never actually get into the United States for the most part except in rare exceptions," he notes. "So, the chance of it happening again is slim."
Meanwhile, Kehler says a weak low-pressure system should move through southern Manitoba on Wednesday and Thursday. Kehler says the heat dome being felt across the central United States will help bring more humidity into southern Manitoba which in turn will fuel the potential for rain and thunderstorms.
"We're not going to get nearly as hot as the central United States, but because we're in close proximity to the heat and humidity, this system will draw some of that in and as a result give us some localized heavy rain," he adds.
The normal high for this time of year is 24 degrees. Kehler says we should feel those temperatures again later this week.
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