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Josh Classen's forecast: Heat streak peaks and record highs may fall

A picture of downtown Edmonton in the North Saskatchewan River valley on July 8, 2024. (Cam Wiebe / CTV News Edmonton) A picture of downtown Edmonton in the North Saskatchewan River valley on July 8, 2024. (Cam Wiebe / CTV News Edmonton)

Heat warnings and air quality alerts are in effect for large portions of Alberta.

The worst air quality from wildfire smoke is across northern and eastern parts of the province, with Edmonton on the edge and reporting a "moderate risk" this morning.

Modelling from Environment and Climate Change Canada indicates improvements in air quality for areas around Edmonton today and no significant smoke in the area through Tuesday and Wednesday.

Northern and eastern Alberta will continue to deal with smoke through the next few days with areas closer to the fires in northern Alberta dealing with "high to very high risk" readings in the 7 to 10+ range on the Air Quality Health Index.

We have an upper ridge that has moved over much of the province with the northern and eastern edges of that ridge running through northern Alberta and near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

The wind rounding the top of that ridge is the main reason those areas will get a lot more smoke than regions beneath the ridge.

That bubble of heat from the surface through the upper levels is also the reason we're dealing with heat warnings across almost all of Alberta.

The mountain parks are the only areas not under a heat warning. Their daytime highs will be hot, but they'll see some relief overnight with cooler morning lows in the forecast.

For Edmonton and area, we'll be very close to the record highs today, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The record highs are:

  • July 8: 32.2 C in 1964
  • July 9: 35.1 C in 2015
  • July 10: 33.0 C in 2001

(Side note: I think today and Wednesday have the best chance at setting new daily record highs.)

I'm conservatively forecasting highs of 31 C today, 32 C on Tuesday, and 33 C on Wednesday. But, there's model output pushing temperatures closer to 34 or 35 C.

These three days will be the hottest days of the heat streak as afternoon temperatures get into the low 30s and morning lows only drop to the 16 to 20 C range.

The AVERAGE high for this week in Edmonton in 23 C , so we'll be about eight to 10 degrees hotter than average.

The ridge looks like it'll break down late Wednesday and that'll likely lead to an outbreak of thunderstorms (possibly severe storms) across much of central and north-central Alberta.

At this time, it's an evening or late-night risk of the Edmonton area on Wednesday.

Temperatures will drop out of the 30s for Thursday-Saturday, but it'll stay hotter than average with afternoon highs in the mid to upper 20s.

Saturday also has a chance of some late-day showers and/or thunderstorms.


Here's the forecast for Edmonton and area:

Today - Sunny.

RECORD: 32.2 -1964

High: 31


Tonight - Clear.

9pm: 28


Tuesday - Sunny.

RECORD: 35.1 -2015

Morning Low: 18

Afternoon High: 32


Wednesday - Mainly sunny. 40% chance of an evening thunderstorm.

RECORD: 33.0 -2001

Morning Low: 20

Afternoon High: 33


Thursday - Mainly sunny.

Morning Low: 18

Afternoon High: 28


Friday - Partly cloudy.

Morning Low: 16

Afternoon High: 27


Saturday - Partly cloudy. 40% chance of late-day showers/thunderstorms.

Morning Low: 16

Afternoon High: 27