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Summer weather outlook: Maritimes, Western Canada looking hotter, dryer than normal

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With summer now officially kicking off this past weekend, many Canadians' thoughts are quickly turning to backyard pools and barbeques.

And according to weather forecasters, it looks like Eastern Canada will be in for a slightly cooler and wetter summer, while the West will be hotter and drier than normal. Overall though, it's shaping up to be a cooler but pleasant start to the season for most Canadians.

After suffering through a frigid winter who will luck out and get that perfect summer that everyone dreams of? That is very subjective and depends on what you consider as "perfect" says Doug Gillham, meteorologist and Forecast Centre Manager with The Weather Network in Oakville, Ont.

"Different people have different ideas; some prefer sunshine and 30C while others prefer low to mid 20s. And still others would like to see regular rain for their gardens," he explained in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.


Anyone into warm and dry conditions will find Atlantic Canada, particularly southwest New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, along with southern parts of British Columbia and Alberta will have the best summer weather.

And this warm and dry weather may cause particular problems for the southern interior of British Columbia, where forests will continue to dry out and may cause issues with water supplies and an increased hazard for wildfires.

For those who prefer slightly cooler temperatures, then the Prairies and Ontario will be the place for ideal sleeping weather and spending those long summer days outdoors. But don't forget to keep that umbrella handy, as these same regions may also experience slightly above-average precipitation, which should keep grass and gardens growing green without the need for much watering.

And while the predictions from the weather models for the Prairies to the Great Lakes may look disappointing at first glance, Gillham points out that they are, "not forecasting this to be a year without a summer, as there will still be periods of hot weather." 


Regardless of whether you like or hate the overall weather pattern in your neck of the woods, blame the developing El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean as the basis of this year’s summer outlook.

The telltale signs for this unusual weather event have definitely been spotted the past few months - an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean water temperatures near the equator to the west of South America.

Meanwhile, global temperature records have been broken for the month of May thanks in large part to the unusually warm ocean water temperatures, beating the old record set only four years ago. Thanks to El Niño starting to gear up as climate change effects intensify, more temperature records are expected to fall around the world.

But despite many earlier forecast models in the year calling for a strong El Niño, newer predictions are now pointing to a more moderate weather pattern affecting Canada. It's not surprising to meteorologists because the changes in the atmosphere which are key to sustaining a developing El Niño have been very slow to develop and at times in opposition to what is needed for El Niño, Gillham says. We may still feel it's impact, he says, just later in the year.

"El Niño does not have as big of an impact on weather patterns during the summer as it does during the winter, but years in which a weak to moderate El Niño was developing have typically brought cooler than seasonal conditions from the central Prairies to the Great Lakes, and warmer weather to the far western and eastern parts of Canada," Gillham explained.

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