Get out sun screen — hot summer expected for Prairies

Shorts should be a popular choice of attire this summer in Western Canada, according to AccuWeather.

“One thing I will say is about 80 to 90 percent of the computer models we’re looking at here are all in agreement that this summer is going to be warmer compared to normal,” said senior meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Some years it is no better than a coin toss, so he is fairly confident this year is going to be hot.

The forecast is also based on an analysis of years that had similar weather patterns in the previous winter and spring.

“I’ll tell you what, probably about 75 to 80 percent of the signals, just looking at that, point towards certainly a warmer than normal summer across the region,” he said.

Anderson believes the warmest weather will be in the western Prairies, especially southern Alberta, where temperatures are expected to average 1 to 1.5 C above normal.

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Calgary experienced five days above 30 C last summer. He wouldn’t be surprised to see twice that amount this year.

A strengthening El Nino is part of the reason for the forecast, as is warm water off the coast of British Columbia.

“That has a little bit of a modifying effect in terms of air masses coming across from the west,” he said.

Dry soil in southern Alberta and portions of southern Saskatchewan will cause a quicker-than-normal warm-up in temperatures.

It’s why Anderson expects the first few weeks of July to be the hottest time rather than the usual late July-early August period.

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He has less confidence in the summer precipitation forecast because most of the moisture typically comes from thunderstorms, which are notoriously difficult to predict.

Anderson’s best guess is that the eastern Prairies, especially Manitoba, will be drier than normal.

“The prevailing wind flow is going to be a little bit more northwest than southwest, so that’s a little bit more of a drier flow,” he said.

He expects a lot of thunderstorm activity in the western Prairies, so that region should have decent moisture throughout the growing season.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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