POLITICS

Summer conditions forecast to be similar to last year: Weather Network

06/02/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 06/01/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Wonder what this summer's forecast will look like? The Weather Network suggests some hints for the future lie in the past.

The network's summer outlook says that conditions across Canada will be very similar to the ones that prevailed during the same time in 2014.

Chief meteorologist Chris Scott says this means unusually balmy temperatures for British Columbia and the territories.

The forecast isn't so sunny for Ontario and Quebec, where Scott says temperatures are expected to be cooler than seasonal norms overall.

Both the Prairie and Atlantic provinces are forecast to see summer temperatures within seasonal averages, with Alberta trending slightly warmer.

Scott predicts average to below average precipitation across the country, noting that Atlantic Canada's typically active hurricane season is shaping up to be quieter than normal.

Scott said expectations for a relatively subdued Atlantic storm track are based on activity on the opposite coast.

A pool of unusually warm Pacific Ocean water near B.C. combined with an El Nino caused by higher water temperatures off the coast of South America are expected to divert storm activity away from the Atlantic region where they usually unfold at this time of year, he said.

"Hurricanes love heat, so they're more likely to develop in the Pacific as opposed to the Atlantic," Scott said. "It doesn't mean that we're off the hook entirely, it just means that, statistically, there's less of a chance of getting as many storms as we normally see."

The warmer waters, however, are not expected to bring much precipitation to B.C., where Scott said rainfall is expected to be below seasonal averages for the area.

Rainfalls are forecast to be closer to seasonal norms throughout the Prairies, which Scott said are likely to experience typical summer temperatures as well.

Scott described the area from Alberta through Manitoba as a "natural transition zone" to regions where cooler conditions are forecast to prevail.

Temperatures are anticipated to be slightly below seasonal norms for Ontario and Quebec, largely replicating the weather that local residents experienced last summer.

"We have to keep in mind here that with summer, when we say below normal, we don't want to convey that it's bad weather," he said. "It's not cold, it's just it's probably a more pleasant summer than some we can see in places like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal where we can easily see summer temperatures for days on end that are in the mid 30s."

Scott conceded that one person's balmy breeze may be another's wintry relic, adding that the timing of seasonal warm spells has much to do with shaping the way Canadians perceive the summer as a whole.

"How do the long weekends turn out? How does that two-week vacation period that most people tend to be off for — the last two weeks of July and maybe the first couple weeks of August— how does that pan out in each individual location? That will really dictate the perception in most people's minds how the summer goes regardless of the forecast for the three-month period."