Mother Nature’s summer plans
By ALLISON ROGERS
I recently developed a personal interest in the weather. Keeping an eye on weather radars, storm patterns and tracking systems as you approach my area – I would class myself as a true amateur in training.
My interest was heightened by the recent storm storm in Ontario, which knocked out power to Media Matters offices for more than three days – up to a week in other areas. Nearly 2,000 utility poles were toppled, and in places like Ottawa and the small town of Uxbridge, Ont., vehicles were buffeted by high winds like Hot Wheels cars. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has not yet estimated the cost of such damage but expects an avalanche of claims.
Canadians are no strangers to severe weather, especially during the most sought-after season. Just look at the events of the last year for a brief history of British Columbia’s experience with severe weather. Meanwhile, hailstorms and tornadoes are common threats to Alberta summers, with more than 100 severe weather reports and 1,500 watches or warnings issued each summer. Saskatchewan Government Insurance recently revealed that a late summer hailstorm in Regina resulted in more than $100 million in claims. Atlantic Canadians, on the other hand, often reap the treasures of tropical storm season. Those in the West expect a calmer summer, according to MétéoMédia forecasts. The rest of Canada, not as much.
According to the channel’s national summer forecast, we’re in for a “sun and storms” season, with widespread warm weather – most of Canada will experience near to above normal temperatures – but the heat will be interrupted by storms and other severe systems. The channel forecasts typical drought and precipitation levels for British Columbia and Alberta; minimizing the risk of wildfire smoke, The Weather Network said. Saskatchewan and Manitoba will see a more back-and-forth trend, with heat waves interrupted by periods of excessive rainfall – something Manitoba has already faced in droves this season.
Both Quebec and Ontario can expect warm and humid temperatures, but must also be prepared for significant storms and precipitation. Nothing like the derecho storm of May 21, but only time will tell how bad the systems are. The Maritimes will see similar trends, with La Niña playing a key role in precipitation rates. With La Niña’s tendency to favor above-normal and active hurricane seasons, The Weather Network suggests that the Atlantic provinces could experience tropical storm trends as early as June.
Peculiar summer weather patterns aside, most Canadians also recover from a two-year case of cabin fever. Many surveys predict the number of Canadian drivers planning summer road trips; Toyota Canada’s summer statistics indicate that 43% of Canadian drivers are more than willing to travel outside their home province, while 24% plan to travel internationally. Recent gas price hikes may stifle those numbers a bit, but when the two options are to spend another weekend at home or plan a getaway… which would you choose?
No mathematician or other can answer the question that torments us: what do two years of claustrophobia at home, plus a season of crazy weather have in store for us? We are about to find out.