Accuweather predicts hot dry summer in B.C. drought on prairies

Hot dry summer in B.C.

Snow fell on the Pennask Summitt early Friday morning but a new report from the AccuWeather Global Weather Center points to a hotter than usual summer.
AccuWeather is forecasting a warmer than usual summer in 2020 for most of the country and an additional warning for potential of wildfires in British Columbia.

While the COVID-19 pandemic forces continued restrictions for millions, most will appreciate the seasonable warmth, but for some provinces, the heat may arrive with risks.

A warmer-than-average summer for western Canada combined with a below-normal amount of rainfall could lead to a dangerous wildfire season in British Columbia and parts of Alberta.

"Other regions will have to keep an eye on drought conditions," veteran Accuweather meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Anderson indicates that despite a slow start to the fire season, "conditions could rapidly change by June due to the dangerous brew that may be ripening."

"The summer may end up being unusually warm to hot across the west, especially from British Columbia to the Yukon Territory," Anderson said. "The combination of hotter days away from the coast and near- to below-normal rainfall may be a recipe for an active fire season."

Anderson also points out that the increased fire risk could also lead to more difficult breathing conditions, especially in late July and August.

Below-average precipitation over the Prairies could set the scene for drought conditions to take hold in some parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The report also paints a gloomy picture for B.C. fisheries. Although water temperatures along the coastal Pacific won't reach the extremes observed several years ago, Anderson said, "the warmer water this year will increase the risk of harmful algae blooms."

Elsewhere in the country, far wetter weather may spur opposite problems, as higher-than-average rainfall could lead to local flooding concerns and other emerging hazards that accompany the stormy pattern.

A tumultuous weather pattern may lead to a particularly stormy summer for the central part of the country, particularly over the Great Lakes region.

"This may end up being an above-average year for tornadoes across Ontario," Anderson said.  

In Quebec a hot and humid summer is anticipated. Similar to the western part of Canada, the increase in temperatures will also mean elevated wildfire risks for the northern portion of the province, particularly in the second half of the summer.

On the east coast in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, higher temperatures aren't expected to be as extreme and, along with less humid air, should lead to more pleasant conditions for the season.

Accuweather forecasters say there is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to predicting what looks to be a very active hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

As many as 14 to 20 tropical storms and seven to 11 hurricanes are forecasted to form and four to six of the storms could strengthen into major hurricanes -- Category 3 or higher.

Accuweather indicates average summer temperatures in Canada have increased by about 1.4 degrees Celsius over the past 72 years.

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