Located in Southern Alberta, Calgary endures very cold winters, although not as cold as Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, which lies farther north. Snow depths of greater than 1 cm are seen on about 88 days each year in Calgary compared with about 65 days in Toronto.
Calgary has a prairie-steppe type climate. This means it usually enjoys sunny weather, even in winter, and most of its little rainfall comes in summer. The summer rain is vital for the wheat and grass grown on the prairies.
Calgary has a windy climate which it owes to its prairie location – there are few natural barriers to the wind.
At times the wind in Calgary takes the form of a Chinook, a hot, dry, Foehn type wind that blasts down from the Rockies. In winter, the Chinook can raise the temperature in Calgary by 30 degrees Centigrade in the space of a few hours, providing welcome relief from the often bitter cold.
When the Chinook blows, it can cause rapid thawing of snow to slush.
Calgary enjoys a dry climate with little of the summer humidity that bothers many people in Ontario. Even in summer, Calgary’s nights are rather cool.
Although it enjoys high sunshine hours, Calgary’s weather is often changeable – it is also notoriously difficult to predict in detail from day to day.