With summer officially starting this week, region residents are in for a warmer than usual season according to a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.
“We think it will be a warmer than normal summer – that’s up as far as we can go in terms of warmer, we don’t know how much warmer. It may not be as warm as it was two summers ago when you had about 23 days where the temperature was above 30 degrees,” said David Phillips.
“Normally we would see eight of those hot, humid days. We’ve already had three of them, one in May, two in June (as of June 17). But I think that really what we’ll see is the warm weather will be more in July and August,” said Phillips.
While temperatures will remain cool for the last week of June, Phillips said the warmer air will then arrive from the United States, where much of that country is in the midst of its second heat wave in as many weeks.
“We see all this American air that’s been very warm for them and causing illnesses and issues it’s going to start arriving here and we will probably see a warm up,” said Phillips.
According to Phillips, while the summer will be drier than normal and there will water stress at times – “we are in better shape than last year.”
“There’s been really no significantly dry period. It seems to me we got the rain when we needed it. So I think the grass is greener. Vegetation is not suffering. Farmers seem to have gotten the rain and now if they get the heat, well it will just bring the fruits and the vegetables and get the fields growing like they should,” he said.
“We don’t need rain all the time. We just need 25 millimetres one day a week – it would be like a utopia. But we know that nature doesn’t necessarily produce when we want. And so we just have to accept what we get,” he added.
The models also suggest consistency in temperature, despite some limitations in how far out predictions can be made.
“So it doesn’t matter what week you take your holidays or two weeks, there’s a good chance that you will enjoy the kind of warm-ish weather. Of course our models are not rigorous enough to tell us what’s going to happen on the long weekend in August. You can plan this weekend [based] on the weather, but you can’t do that two weeks in advance because you’re just not going to nail it. There’s too much chaos in the system to be able to do that,” Phillips explained.
The models do not suggest any severe weather events, however.
“We know we get our share of it. We’ve already had some really strong wind events. We’ve had some severe thunderstorms that have caused some power outages, some heavy rain and hail and there may have even been a couple of touchdowns of tornadoes but nothing really damaging and very localized,” said Phillips.
However, people do need to remain prepared, and “keep an eye on the sky,” Phillips said.
“We know that weather can turn on you and it’s not a matter of always getting your alert by cell phone. It’s a matter of being your own weather person and watching the sky. I mean you don’t get severe slamming weather out of blue skies and white puffy clouds. The atmosphere threatens and so when the atmosphere threatens know where to go and what the safety rules are. You don’t want to become a statistic in summertime.”
Phillips said he could not have manufactured a better summer for weather.
“It seems to me that nature is going to deliver us the goods that will make the summer pleasant for people,” he said.