What can Canada expect this summer? ‘Bet’ on the heat, forecasts say

Click to play video: 'Canada summer forecast 2024: What Canadians can expect'
Canada summer forecast 2024: What Canadians can expect
WATCH: Canada summer forecast 2024: What Canadians can expect – May 29, 2024

Summer is just around the corner for Canada, but those hoping for cooler weather are likely to be disappointed with forecasts showing this season is likely to be relatively warm.

“I think if you were a betting person, you’d bet on another warm summer,” Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told Global News. “So if I look at the seasonal forecast, June, July, August, we’re showing no area of Canada is showing cooler than normal.”

Depending where you live, though, you may see some precipitation and not just the sun.

According to Phillips, this will be especially true for the Prairies and B.C.

He noted that last year Canadians heard much about the drought faced by the Prairie provinces, but this spring has seen a “well-watered” region without flooding, giving farmers and growers good conditions going into the growing season. He expects fairly good weather, but there is still the risk of a drought depending on what heat and precipitation the summer actually brings.

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New report reveals Quebec not prepared to face extreme weather

After severe wildfires last year, and the deadly heat dome of 2021, Phillips notes British Columbians may see some relief as the forecast is calling for near normal conditions along the coast, with slightly warmer temperatures in the Interior.

John Clague, an emeritus professor in earth sciences at Simon Fraser University, notes the season started rough with wildfires in northern B.C. but has calmed down due to more precipitation to “dampen” the fires. But he cautioned that following previous years of drought, it would not take much for forests to dry out and “set the stage” for more fires.

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Based on the current forecast, though, it’s still promising.

“We can only hope that we get interspersed with our normal summer weather, the occasional period of rainfall and cool weather,” he told Global News’ Neetu Garcha. “It started out looking very grim and now it’s progressed to what is near normal conditions.”

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Click to play video: 'Canada, U.S. to see above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, officials stress to ‘be prepared’'
Canada, U.S. to see above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, officials stress to ‘be prepared’

Those in Canada’s most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, will need to be sure to pull out the summer clothing as forecasters are seeing a “lot of red,” which Phillips says is a signal of confidence in warmer than normal temperatures.

Clague points to a heat dome over the eastern and central U.S. creating above average temperatures that could result in less than normal precipitation.

Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell, though, adds that with high heat, in areas like the Great Lakes and into Quebec there is still a chance more thunderstorms with torrential rain and damaging hail could occur later this summer.

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Those higher temperatures should be a signal for people to prepare, Michael Brauer, a professor in the school of population and public health at the University of British Columbia, said in an interview.

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“We don’t want to wait until the event and scramble out and not be able to buy an air conditioner or not have a plan,” he said. “We will all be facing a wildfire event, or an extreme heat event (and) if it’s not this summer, it’s going to be next summer.”

For Atlantic Canadians, they’re in a bit of a warm but bumpy season following recent forecasts of an extremely active hurricane season with up to 25 named storms possible.

Farnell says this is due to a mixture of warm ocean temperatures, the transition from El Nino to La Nina and very little wind shear to diminish the strength of the storms.

“Typically we do have warmer than normal temperatures in the eastern half of the country when we have that transition,” Farnell said. “Also very active hurricane seasons because of less wind shear, so Atlantic Canada needs to be on the lookout for that.”

As for those in the north, the warm conditions won’t be absent either but instead of hurricanes, wildfires could be the potential risk. While conditions appear more favourable than they were last year to avoid the worst, Farnell notes there could be potential heat waves in the region, which could mean more fires as well, though recent rains may have tempered wildfire conditions.

“I do think it’s going to be an active year, but nothing compared to what we had last year with all of that smoke and those blazes going throughout the summer,” Farnell said, noting this is likely to be the case not just for the north but nationwide.

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Phillips cautions these are still forecasts and Canadians won’t know the weather until it actually hits, however, he again stresses that’s why it’s important to prepare and keep an eye out for signs of inclement weather as you yourself may be able to know what to expect.

“I always think there’s no sneak attacks with weather, you know it’s coming,” he said. “You don’t get tornadoes with blue skies and white puffy clouds, nature always gives you a forewarning.”

–with files from Global News’ Neetu Garcha

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