It’s hard to imagine drought being a problem in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan that still haven’t finished last year’s harvest due to wet conditions, but weather forecaster AccuWeather suggests conditions could turn quickly this summer.
As Brett Anderson, senior meteorologist and Canadian weather specialist for the Pennsylvania-based weather company, explains in the interview below, they’re expecting a hot, dry summer — even drought — starting on the western side of the prairies, with above normal temperatures extending east through Manitoba and southern Ontario.
The explanation for this outlook lies off the West Coast, with what’s known as Pacific Decadal Oscillation (or PDO).
“The past two years we’ve had a big blob of warm water sitting off the West Coast. With warmer than typical water, it tends to allow systems coming off the Pacific to have more moisture with them,” he says. “This year it’s changed. Water temperatures off the West Coast are running near to slightly below normal. That would tend to favour less moisture availability.”
Models are also showing signals of “persistent high pressure across the western half of the country during the core of the summer, which will tend to deflect these Pacific fronts up into the Yukon Territory and coming back down into eastern Canada,” says Anderson.
Taking us across the country, Anderson explains AccuWeather’s 2017 summer outlook: