As communities across Ontario and Quebec pick up the pieces following a deadly storm that left thousands without power, new predictions from AccuWeather reveal that wet and warm weather is expected to continue in the region over the summer season.
According to AccuWeather’s senior meteorologist Brett Anderson, a portion of eastern Canada ranging from central and southern Ontario, through to western and southern Quebec, could see higher-than-normal levels of precipitation during the summer. The region is also expected to see above-average levels of thunderstorm activity, he said.
“This may be a busy summer in terms of severe thunderstorms, especially from the Windsor to Toronto to Ottawa corridor,” Anderson said as part of an analysis by the weather forecasting company.
In fact, several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada’s Maritime provinces, are also likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather’s annual summer forecast released on Tuesday.
La Nina, a climatological phenomenon, is expected to play an important role in controlling which areas of Canada will see increased amounts of precipitation. The climate pattern is caused by a drop in sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean over extended periods of time. This has an impact on the orientation and position of the northern jet stream, which, in turn, affects precipitation levels.
An increase in moisture across Ontario and Quebec will also result in higher levels of humidity in the region, said Anderson, referring to greater amounts of water vapor in the air. Higher levels of humidity will also help these areas to retain some of the heat they encounter, as the air is not able to cool down as quickly as if it were dry.
“Increased humidity will lead to warmer nights when compared to normal, while temperatures during the daytime will be closer to normal,” said Anderson.
The effects of greater humidity become especially pronounced in large cities, which typically trap more heat due to the amount of pavement and buildings that exist, which are slow to release heat. The silver lining, however, is that the higher levels of precipitation that are also expected will reduce the risks of drought and wildfires in the region.
WETTER CONDITIONS EXPECTED OUT WEST
According to AccuWeather’s summer forecast, areas of British Columbia are also likely to see more precipitation than usual.
“It’ll be wetter than normal across the northern part of the province with near-normal rainfall expected in the southern portion,” Anderson said.
Western Canada tends to be the region that is most affected by La Nina, the meteorologist said. This summer, the jet stream is projected to bring more moisture over parts of Western Canada, which will reduce the chance of wildfires developing in the area.
“Given current conditions and the teleconnections expected to be in place, we may see a reduction in fire activity this year, especially when compared to last summer,” Anderson said.
Temperatures are predicted to cool down this year in comparison to the scorching hot conditions reported in 2021, said Anderson. Last summer, Canadians saw record-high temperatures in June 2021. The village of Lytton, BC broke the record for the highest temperature three days in a row, setting an all-time high of 49.6 C on June 29.
This year, residents can expect temperatures to be closer to normal for most of British Columbia. In Vancouver, for example, temperatures around 21 to 22 C are considered common in mid-to-late-July.
Additionally, rivers and streams will likely run at or just above normal levels. Runoff water melting from layers of snow on nearby mountains will eventually find its way into rivers and streams, which will help the water to continue flowing to different parts of the province, Anderson said.
PRAIRIES PRONE TO DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES
In contrast to Western Canada, Prairie provinces are projected to see the dry conditions that emerged in mid-May continue into the summer.
“Ongoing and worsening severe drought across southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan will likely feed the heat through the summer,” Anderson said.
Data from the Canadian Drought Monitor points to drier-than-normal conditions in the southernmost parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Southern Alberta, in particular, continues to face extreme drought conditions.
According to Anderson, these ongoing conditions will likely result in surging temperatures across cities such as Calgary and Regina, resulting in a hotter summer than usual.
A rise in temperatures, combined with dry ground, paves the way for wildfires to emerge as well, Anderson said. When the ground is dry, it’s easier for heat from the sun to be emitted back into the atmosphere. The result is even higher temperatures, possibly several degrees above what they would have been if the ground was moist.
“These dry and warm conditions will likely lead to a higher risk for large, rapidly spreading fires across the southern Prairies,” said Anderson.
Soil in parts of southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan will remain moist thanks to overflowing rivers as a result of recent storms. This will help reduce some of the risks associated with higher temperatures and the development of wildfires, Anderson said. However, these more moist conditions are unlikely to last all summer long.
“Conditions may flip to drier and hotter during the second half of summer as the soil dries out,” he said.
HUMIDITY IN CANADA’S EAST COAST
Those in Canada’s Maritime provinces can expect to see humid conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather, with warmer water temperatures likely to result in warmer air temperatures throughout the season.
“I expect water temperatures to average about [1 to 2 C] above normal in the Atlantic, off the coast of Nova Scotia,” said Anderson. “This will have a warming and higher humidity influence on the surrounding area, especially at night.”
The meteorologist also points to concerning trends around tropical activity in the region. Above-average water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean may lead to greater risk of a tropical system touching base in Atlantic Canada. There have already been reports of a highly active hurricane season in the Atlantic basin this year set to take place during the summer and early fall.
This comes as the meteorological summer is set to begin on June 1. The official start of summer, otherwise known as the summer solstice, begins on June 21.