Climatologist predicts more hot weather
In May and June, area residents scoffed at the wet and cold facsimile of spring they were enduring. Then, in late June and the first weeks of July, they were swept up in a heat wave.
In an interview Tuesday, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips added some perspective to Mother Nature’s apparent mood swings this year.
He also said folks in this part of the world can look forward to aboveaverage temperatures in August and September.
Mr. Phillips also pointed out that the cool spring was actually a little bit above normal, as far as the thermometer was concerned. “The problem was the lack of sun,” he said. “When there’s no sun, it feels like it’s seven or eight degrees cooler than it really is.”
Mr. Phillips added that the area experienced 440 millimetres of precipitation from March through May, compared to the average of 280 we have during these months.
It was noteworthy that the temperature started to soar on June 21, the first official day of summer. Since then, Mr. Phillips said, “it really has been torrid. No wonder everything is parched.”
He said the heat wave could be attributed to a front moving in from the Gulf of Mexico that made it as hot locally as it was in Savannah, Georgia or New Orleans.
But between June 25 and July 24, the Orangeville area saw just 36 mm of precipitation, less than half of what is usual for that time of year.
There were also 10 days where the temperatures jumped over 30 Celsius, five times more than usual.
Yet, for all that searing heat, there was only one official smog day, where the smog index was over 50. “Why that is, is a mystery,” said Mr. Phillips. “It should have been worse, since it was hot, sunny and there was no rain.”
He ventured that perhaps social attitudes and government policies might have contributed to the lack of smog days.
For example, coal burning contributes to smog and has been sharply reduced at Ontario’s power plants.
There has also been a reduction in the number of tornadoes this year. “We’ve had three or four tornadoes,” Mr. Phillips pointed out. “Normally, we would have had 12 by now.”
As for the forecast for the next two months, Mr. Phillips said, “what you see now is likely what you’ll get.”