Summer 2017 could be one of extremes across Canada

Jonathan Rumley
Graphic from AccuWeather.

If you think northern Alberta had more than enough fires in 2016, you may not like this year’s forecast.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson told Yahoo Canada News that despite the “flukey spring,” most of Canada will be hovering around normal conditions, but they vary dramatically depending on where you live.

The forecast may not be what people of Fort McMurray, Alta., want to hear just a year after the community had to be evacuated due to an enormous wildfire.

“There’s no serious drought right now in Canada,” Anderson said. “The drought may become much more widespread across the western Prairies during the middle and end of summer.”

The spring is already setting up for an active wildfire season in the Prairies thanks to hot and dry weather conditions.

“If there is a region where there may be a significant increase in wildfire activity later in the summer, it would be the northern half of Alberta,” Anderson said.

There should be less heat and more thunderstorms the closer you get to the Rocky Mountains and lightning could spark wildfires in the region.

For those along British Columbia’s coastline, the meteorologist said expect closer to normal temperatures this summer after a warmer-than-normal 2016, especially in Vancouver.

“Ocean water surface temperatures off the coast are running cooler compared to previous years, and this should keep temperatures close to normal along the coast,” Anderson said. 

Remember that big warm ‘blob’ of warm water floating in the Pacific last year? It’s gone now, Anderson revealed.

Eastern Canada should see slightly-above-normal temperatures this summer with less humidity than in past years, according to the meteorologist. He added that “plenty of cold fronts” are expected to pass through Ontario and Quebec, which keeps the thick humid air at bay while setting the stage for some potentially severe thunderstorms.

“There is the potential for a few severe thunderstorm outbreaks in Ontario, especially from July into mid-August,” Anderson said. “The Great Lakes are actually warmer than normal.”

The forecast calls for Atlantic Canada to endure some cool and wet conditions over the coming months.

“This summer is not expected to be unusually hot, but humidity may be higher than usual the second half of the season,” Anderson said. “Coastal areas may be especially cool due cooler-than normal sea surface temperatures and a greater number of days with fog.”

One consistent thing to expect across the country is the increased frequency of extreme weather. This includes more heavy rain, more dry drought conditions, more wind than usual and dramatic changes in temperatures over short periods, depending on where you live. Anderson said the lack of sea ice across the far north combined with warmer-than-normal conditions across the Great Lakes could have an impact.

“With climate change, there have been studies that have shown there will be more extremes in weather,” the meteorologist said. “We’ve seen a lot of extremes.”