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This summer’s about the heat

The weather has been a mixed bag of late, with some hot, hazy and humid days, though nothing like what was going on out west.

Still, warm days will abound in southern Ontario, suggests Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.

“We see this often during the summer in May, June, July, August and even into September – it quite makes sense that people would think, ‘Well, this warm air must be from that heat dome that occurred over British Columbia and Alberta,’ but no, it’s different. It’s warm and it’s hot, but that (the heat dome) is more the kind of desert air, and we’re jungle air,” he explained this week.  “Today is 31 degrees. The normal high would be about 26, so that’s about five degrees warmer than normal.

“Fortunately, we did get lots of rain at the end of June. This is actually perfect for farmers and for gardeners – we’ve had the moisture, and now we’ve got the heat. Boy, you couldn’t ask for more to get that corn growing in the field, and backyard gardens growing. The strawberries were a little stunted because we were short of rain when we needed it, but certainly raspberries, the fruit and vegetable crops, and particularly the wheat, the grains, the soybeans would really benefit by this heat and humidity because we had some very beneficial rains at the end of June. And now when the heat is on, well, the ground is well-watered – there’s not the drought that we were facing coming into June from a very dry May and dry April,” noted Phillips.

He predicts that it won’t be as warm as it was last summer in the region,  and we won’t get close to 40-degree weather. Typically our region gets eight days in a summer where temperatures will climb above 30 degrees;  last summer we had 23 such days.  So far, we’ve had eight of those days, and July and August shouldn’t change that.

The last time southern Ontario reported 40-degree weather was 1937, which makes it unlikely that we would see it again, said Phillips. The region can expect 24 and 25 degree weather for the next couple of weeks.

“We are the thunderstorm capital of the world in southern Ontario. You get humid air and you don’t get weather with just hot air – it’s hot air and humid air. That’s the mixture that you can get thunder boomers and, especially with a lake breeze moving in, you get all the dynamics there to create kind of afternoon thunderstorms. Sometimes it can be violent and cause tornadoes – we do get about a dozen tornadoes every year and microbursts, strong winds and heavy flooding rains they usually are over very quickly, but they do cause issues and people get injured by them.”

Unlike last year, we won’t see as much flooding or high water levels this summer.

“The other thing too is the Great Lakes are lower than they were last year. So, that means there’s not the flooding and erosion that we would normally get and so maybe the beaches are a little wider than they were last year. People who go by the lakes, they’ll notice that is down a bit but that’s good because they’ve been so elevated in the last couple of years.”

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