Summer Forecast And Breakdown For U.S. Travelers Going Into Canada
Canada is a beautiful time for travelers from the U.S. and around the world to travel to viewing the countryside including popular areas of the country.
Summer like weather kicked off early in parts of western Canada, with several locations breaking high-temperature records and the wildfire season sparking earlier than normal.
Despite the early arrival of summer like weather in western parts of the country, Canadians living in the central and eastern parts of the country will eventually get their fair share of warm weather as well.
The summer solstice, which will occur at 10:57 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 21, will mark the official start of summer for the Northern Hemisphere.
Longtime AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, who has spent decades issuing weather forecasts for Canada, has put together AccuWeather’s annual summer forecast for the country, detailing what Canadians can expect for the upcoming season.
According to Anderson, for the first time in three years, the weather pattern this summer won’t be influenced by La Niña. In fact, Anderson says the weather pattern is shifting toward El Niño, but that doesn’t have much of an influence on summer weather in Canada.
So what can Canadians expect this summer? Well, for one, this upcoming season will likely not shape up like the past three. Read on for a complete breakdown of how the season is projected to play out across each part of the country.
Thanks to a persistent ridge of high pressure stationed over the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada, summer seemingly kicked off early in western Canada. May temperatures in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city, have been running about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 degrees Celsius) above historical averages.
Farther south, in Elkwater, Alberta, which is 47 miles north of the Canada-United States border, temperatures reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) on May 22. This is 22 F (12 C) warmer than the historical average for Elkwater this time of year. In fact, the average high temperature doesn’t peak higher than 80 F (26.7 C) during the hottest days of the summer.
Additionally, the lack of rain and snow across some areas in Alberta and British Columbia has led to below-normal moisture levels. According to the North American Drought Monitor, Alberta has been the Canadian province hardest hit by the lack of rain and snow, with nearly 85% of the province considered at least “abnormally dry” and about 41 percent of the land in drought conditions. Large swaths of British Columbia were also considered very dry, according to the monitor.
The dry and warm weather has created ideal conditions for wildfires to spark. Over 3.9 million acres (about 1.6 million hectares) of land have been burned in British Columbia and Alberta as of May 21, according to data from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
In Alberta alone, around 406 fires have burned more than 2 million acres (950,000 hectares) of land this year, according to the CIFFC. As of May 21, 2022, 236 fires have formed.
According to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok, this is the second-worst wildfire season on record for Alberta so far.
Looking ahead to the summer, Anderson warns high pressure will continue to dominate the weather pattern. This will result in sunny, dry weather. Temperatures this summer in British Columbia and Alberta will be higher than normal, according to forecasters.
Much like in Vancouver, Edmonton residents can expect temperatures this summer to be higher than normal. The historical average temperature in Edmonton during meteorological summer is 58.4 degrees F (14.7 degrees C).
“With a strong high pressure area dominating, most Pacific storm systems will end up being deflected up into Alaska, leaving much of British Columbia and Alberta drier than normal, which is bad news for fire containment,” said Anderson.
In Edmonton, the historical average precipitation for meteorological summer is 9.60 inches. Last year, rainfall totals were just shy of average. However, precipitation totals this year look to be much lower than normal.
This summer, the lower-than-normal precipitation levels in British Columbia and Alberta will only worsen drought concerns and provide little to no relief for wildfires.
Smoke from additional wildfires expected this summer will lead to poor air quality and more hazy days in the coming months.
Before heading out the door this summer, AccuWeather forecasters say residents should make sure to check the air quality. This is especially important for populations that are at a higher risk, such as older adults, pregnant people, children, smokers and people involved with strenuous outdoor work or outdoor sports.
AccuWeather forecasters work closely with Plume Labs to provide up-to-date, current and accurate air quality forecasts that can be easily accessed on any forecast page. Simply navigate to the “Air Quality” tab at the top of a forecast page for a detailed report. The free AccuWeather app also provides air quality forecast information.
According to Anderson, there will be one very specific region in western Canada that will be spared from a lack of rainfall this season: the Canadian Rockies.
“The one exception may be the Canadian Rockies, as thunderstorm activity may be higher than usual by midsummer, as the southwestern U.S. monsoon is expected to be suppressed,” said Anderson.
Anderson said that when the monsoon is suppressed in the southwestern U.S., thunderstorm activity increases farther north in the northern U.S. and Canadian Rockies.
“The good news with these storms is that they will bring beneficial rainfall,” said Anderson. “The bad news is that there will be more lightning, which means more natural fire starts.”
While a large chunk of the Canadian Prairies will experience near-average temperatures and precipitation this summer, one region will come in slightly below average.
Due to persistent high pressure and smoke from the wildfires in western Canada, Anderson warns that this summer will likely be slightly drier and cooler than usual for Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.
Typically, high pressure is accompanied by dry and sunny weather, while low pressure is accompanied by stormy, wet weather. The high pressure will keep Manitoba and northwestern Ontario slightly drier this summer.
Although sunny skies accompany high pressure, the smoke from the wildfires out west will limit how much the sun heats the Earth’s surface this summer. Temperatures in Winnipeg average around 64-65 F (roughly between 17.8-18.3 C) during the summer months. However,, due to the wildfire smoke, temperatures will likely be lower than average this summer, according to Anderson.
The high-level smoke in the atmosphere will do a bit more than bring the temperatures down slightly – it will result in hazier skies and red sunsets.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty, the color of the sky has to do with how the sun’s light, or wavelengths, is scattered in the atmosphere.
“The smoke particles basically ‘reflect’ shorter wavelength light waves, which includes blue, which [is what] we typically see,” said Douty. “Red has a long wavelength which does not get reflected. So it makes it to our eyes, which is why we see the red in the sunset. If the smoke is dense enough in the atmosphere, the sun will look red as well.”
Because of that, residents in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario might want to consider packing two things before heading out the door this summer: a coat and a camera. The coat will be beneficial if the weather becomes chilly, and the camera will help capture beautiful pictures of sunrises or sunsets.
AccuWeather forecasters say wet and stormy weather will be common across parts of Ontario and Quebec this summer.
“A projected dip in the jet stream across the Great Lakes this summer will likely enhance shower and thunderstorm activity across southern and eastern Ontario and up into southern Quebec,” Anderson said. “There will likely be an elevated threat for severe weather in this region during the summer with a higher risk for damaging thunderstorms, hail and even tornadoes.”
While wet and stormy conditions may put a damper on some outdoor plans this coming season, the good news is that increased precipitation will lower the chance of any drought conditions developing.
In Toronto, the historical average precipitation total for meteorological summer is 8.47 inches (21.51 cm (0.71 feets)). Last year, rainfall totals were slightly below average. However, according to Anderson, precipitation totals this year will be higher than normal.
In terms of temperatures this summer, AccuWeather forecasters say the increase in precipitation and clouds in this region will keep the heat “at bay” more times than not. Cities such as Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal will run close to historical averages this summer.
Last summer, temperatures in Atlantic Canada were slightly above average, and rainfall totals were slightly below average. The end of the summer was marked by Subtropical Storm Fiona, which went down as one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. Fiona, which also caused considerable damage in Puerto Rico as a hurricane days earlier, brought destructive winds, flooding rain and destroyed numerous homes and buildings.
Looking ahead to this summer, AccuWeather forecasters are predicting a lower-than-normal risk of a tropical storm or hurricane impacting Atlantic Canada.
“Since the year 2000, there has been about one landfalling hurricane in Atlantic Canada every other year, which is a slight increase from what it was during the 20th century,” said Anderson. “One factor may be climate change and its impact on the warming of the waters in the Northwest Atlantic, which has allowed storms to maintain hurricane strength farther north than usual.”
In terms of tropical storms or tropical depressions, Anderson says Atlantic Canada typically experiences one or two landfills each year, on average.
As for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, AccuWeather’s team of tropical meteorologists, which is spearheaded by Kottlowski, currently projects that the season will be near the historical average, with 11 to 15 named storms.
As for day-to-day weather, much of Atlantic Canada is expected to be warmer and more humid than normal, according to Anderson.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the historical average temperature for meteorological summer is 67.7 F (19.8 C). And last summer, temperatures in Halifax ran nearly 5 F above average. According to Anderson, temperatures this summer will likely be similar to last.
Rainfall amounts this summer are expected to be near average for much of Atlantic Canada generally. However, Anderson warns a trend toward wetter conditions will likely unfold during the second half of the summer.
Produced in association with AccuWeather