With summer just around the corner, Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling for the season in southwestern Ontario to be warmer than normal for the rest of June and into July and August, however it will not be as hot as the last two years.
“It won’t be every day. Last year, in [Waterloo Region] we had twice as many hot days as we normally would get. We had 16 of those instead of eight. And the year before we had about 15. We’ve already had four, which is a little bit more than you’d expect for this time of June,” said senior climatologist David Phillips.
The average temperature in May and the start of June was about 1 degree cooler than normal, Phillips said.
“That does not define summer, we have to wait. People would say, ‘Well, you were wrong. Because you said it’s going to be warmer than normal.’ No, ‘I said come Labour Day when we crunch the numbers [it will be].’”
After a dry May the rain the region got this week, totalling 35 millimetres, was very welcome, Phillips said.
“Not only may it be the billion-dollar rain when you think about what we grow here in Ontario and depend on it, but any rain we get this week I think will be sort of money in the bank, kind of a safety valve for what may come for the rest of the summer,” he said.
Going forward it may be drier than normal, however precipitation is harder to predicate than temperature, Phillips said.
“If it’s drier, then you need more rain than less rain when it’s warmer, because there’s more evaporation taking place. There is more stress from the vegetation in a warmer situation and so therefore you need that moisture to balance things out. So if the forecast is correct, that it is warmer and drier than normal, then my sense is that we may have some problems there. That’s why when we get a rain like we had [this week] it is in some ways it’s really the saviour,” he said.
While there will be some periods of severe weather that is also hard to predict, Phillips explained.
“My sense is that will we get those things and so we need to be prepared for them. So there’ll be near-misses, there’ll be hits and there might be some strong winds that bring down trees and put out power for a while,” he said.
For the agriculture sector there haven’t yet been any red flags, Phillips said.
“My sense is that the growing season has started and the field work has been completed seeding is all in. What they would like now is an inch of rain a week and some warm temperatures and life would be great for the farmers and I wish we could order that. But then there are other people who wouldn’t like that. So my sense is that the conditions we’ve had so far have been fair for farmers.”
Phillips described what is known as a “Bermuda High,” which is a high pressure system that sits over the Atlantic Ocean and brings extended periods of high temperatures, however that will not last very long.
“That gives you a week or eight days of really hot temperatures and people are complaining about the heat and humidity….And we will have those moments, but I don’t think the whole summer won’t be made of that,” he said.
“So in some ways, it may be a pleasant summer.”