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Expect smoke to continue, another heatwave not expected: meteorologist

Last Updated Jul 28, 2021 at 2:51 pm MDT

A smoky haze settles over Calgary, Alta. July 19, 2021. (PHOTO: Nick Blakeney, CityNews Calgary)

CALGARY — Temperatures are expected to hit the high 20s for the rest of the week in Calgary, but we should be clear from another heatwave.

That’s according to Environment Canada and Climate Change Meteorologist Janelle Gergley who says part of it is because of the wildfire smoke we are blanketed by.

“It’s actually limiting the amount of solar radiation that’s able to reach the surface. So, there is some uncertainty in those daytime highs that we’re forecasting, we might be a bit lower than what we’re seeing in the forecast,” Gergley said.

But even with the somewhat cooler temperatures, the smoke creates another hazard for anybody spending time outdoors.


“We’re really seeing high AQHI (Air Quality Health Index) values just to the west along the Rockies. I know Banff and Canmore have seen quite high values,” she adds that we could continue to see the smoke for the foreseeable future.

“I know, right now there’s probably a lot of higher smoke and that’s going to continue. We’re going to see that Westerly flow all through the weekend into next week as this ridge builds in. It’s really going to mix down to the surface and affect the breathing air as a concern,” Gergley says.

We saw those dangerously high levels of AQHI in Calgary two weeks ago when it was rated 10+ and very high risk.

Now, even though we may not see record temperatures this week, Gergley adds it has been a bit of an abnormal summer.

“Calgary has had unseasonably warm temperatures this year, I know on average you’ll usually see about five days above 30 degrees celsius a year, and you’re already sitting above 10 I believe,” she said.

It is too early to tell if these temperatures are a result of climate change with the limited amount of data Environment Canada has right now.

“It would have to be a consistent pattern that we’re seeing. However, we do know that with climate change we’re going to see more extremes. So, we’re going to see more extreme heat, more extreme drought, extreme cold in the winter and that has been evident this year,” Gergley said.

With the high temperatures forecasted for the week, Gergley says it is best to be cautious of heat exhaustion as it can sneak up on you fast and it is best to stay hydrated.