Hotter, drier summer might be coming, says forecaster

AccuWeather says long-term forecast calls for hot summer in B.C. and Alberta

Central Alberta could be in for a hotter, drier summer.

But don’t begin dreaming of lounging in the sun just yet, because long-term forecasting is notoriously tricky.

A warmer-than-usual summer in many parts of the country, especially in the westernmost provinces, was forecast by AccuWeather in a special report issued Friday.

The East Coast could also see hotter-than-normal temperatures, and it could be a busy hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

In Central Canada, a tumultuous weather pattern may lead to a particularly stormy summer and an above-average year for tornadoes in Ontario.

The West’s potential heat wave also brings risks.

“The combination of hotter days away from the coast and near- to below-normal rainfall may be a recipe for an active fire season,” says AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Environment Canada’s online maps also indicate we could be in for a warmer summer. But meteorologist Sara Hoffman said seasonal forecasts should be taken with a “large grain of salt.”

“Forecasting accuracy improves the closer to the event you are, or close to the time frame you’re forecasting for.

“So, forecasts for Day 1 or 2 are going to be a lot more accurate for forecasts two weeks out. And it’s the same for seasonal forecasting.”

Environment Canada’s meteorologists expect to issue their own seasonal report next week.

It will be tricky year for long-term forecasting though.

“This year, we don’t have a strong climate ocillation, like an El Nino or a La Nina. There is no kind of forcing like that points one way or the other to how the summer will go.”

To prepare a seasonal forecast, meteorologists will look at various other climate occilations and patterns that provide some clues as to what might be coming.

When large climate occilations are not in play, seasonal climate models are relied upon more.

But those models — and there are many — don’t always come out with similar predictions.

“There isn’t always good agreement and that makes the forecast even more difficult as well,” said Hoffman.

However the summer turns out, central Albertans can count on our weather producing the usual drama.

“Regardless of the season forecasts, this summer there will still be thunderstorms, there will still be large hail, damaging winds, heavy downpours with these thunderstorms.”

Hoffman wants to remind all to be wary of lightning, whether a warning has been issued or not.

On average, lightning kills nine to 10 Canadians a year and injures about 160 more.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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