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Melfort is located in the aspen parkland biome. The city has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification "BSk"), with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. Precipitation is low, with an annual average of 466 mm (18.3 in). Melfort's location on the Yellowhead Highway makes it a stopover for travellers going to Prince Albert National Park or into Alberta via Lloydminster or Edmonton. The town was named after Lord Melfort by Scottish settlers who arrived at Fort Qu'Appelle from Ontario during 1874–75; they were led by Reverend James Nisbet and included William McKay and his family of seven children: John A., Mary E., Isabella J., Jane M., Margaret C., Elizabeth B.(Betty)and Robert W..