The El Niño effect over the winter months in Alberta was one of the strongest influences on the weather patterns, but now that its impact is waning what does this mean for the latter part of spring and summer?

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor March data indicated that our average temperature was a few degrees lower than normal.

"The mean temperature in March was -4.6 degrees; while the normal mean temperature is -1.6 degrees; this makes it the 48 coldest March, from a mean temperature point of view. Looking at precipitation events - it was also an interesting month from a perception point of view."

Proctor said that the Calgary Airport, the closest station to the Airdrie area reported 25.3 millimetres of precipitation.

"The long-term normal would be 17.8 millimetres, which would make it the 37 wettest March on record. While the early portion of the late fall and into much of winter saw warmer conditions, by the time winter started to wane and El Nino began to wane, we began to see cooler temperatures setting up across portions of southern Alberta, and even a bit heavier precipitation than we would normally expect."

When asked if this means that La Niña will be following, Proctor clarified that it's more the case that temperatures and weather patterns will be regressing to more normal conditions. 

"So... Not a real strong influence from an El Niño point of view towards warmer and drier conditions or towards La Niña, which would be cooler and wetter conditions. The further we get into the late spring and early summer; we don't see La Niña rearing its head probably until sometime in the fall."

Because the data set for April is incomplete for the time being, until the month ends, Proctor said he couldn't arrive at any concrete conclusions of April's weather averages, though speaking in generalities he did say there was normal to slightly above normal precipitation, especially along Alberta's Foothills.

"It's not a heavy kind of snowfall situation that we've seen. There are a few localities that have seen some heavier precipitation down in the Cardston area and maybe stretching off towards Waterton," Proctor explained. "But it hasn't been exceptional for the first two weeks of April for heavy precipitation or warm or cold temperatures. It's just a continuation of March."

Very early model indications for next month are predicting warm conditions.

"The latest sort of versions of our monthly forecast that have been coming out, suggest that the upper Ridge is going to reestablish itself towards the middle of next week and that's going to give us trends towards warmer conditions and drier conditions. The way May is starting to set up, it does look like it's going to be warm at this point." 

The Farmer's Almanac is predicting that the last days of April may see rain and snow showers and cold, while the first few days of May will bring isolated showers with rainy periods and chilly temperatures. Mid-May may bring sun and mild temperatures, while the end of May will be cold with showers. 

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