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Insider Insights: Articles

How to plan for this weekend’s changeable weather in Southern Ontario

By Chris Scott
Chief Meteorologist
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:57 PM

I'm going to an outdoor party Saturday evening. The hosts have been asking me about the weather… 'How’s it looking? Will it storm? What should we do?' 

I like getting these questions – after all, it's what I do. 

This is a not a washout weekend in southern Ontario. In fact, the majority of the hours this weekend are likely to be dry. However, there is a pretty good likelihood that most places will see rain at some point, and there is a risk of thunderstorms especially in southwestern Ontario. 

So what do you do with a forecast that seems to be saying anything could happen? 

This is not a weekend to cancel outdoor activities a day in advance. But it IS a weekend where you’ll need to be flexible with outdoor plans and adjust depending on the timing of individual bands of showers or thunderstorms. 

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While there is a chance of showers Saturday morning, many areas will remain dry for the morning into the afternoon. The threat for showers and thunderstorms steadily increases later in the afternoon and especially through the evening hours. My friends having the outdoor party Saturday evening have decided to clean up their garage so they can move things inside in case storms develop. Using a weather forecast is an exercise in risk management. While far from a sure thing, there is enough risk of storms Saturday evening across southern Ontario that you should have a back-up plan for any outdoor activities. 

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Sunday is another day where you’ll have to roll with the punches. At this point, the morning into early afternoon looks mainly dry. Again, the threat for showers and thunderstorms increases as the day goes on, peaking in the evening and overnight. Conditions look warm across most of Southern Ontario. Temperatures will be more disappointing into cottage country, especially farther north towards Parry Sound and Huntsville. This is a preview to next week when, as Dr. Doug put it, 'the final week of July will feel more like September.'

So how can you stay on top of the changeable weather over the next few days? 

Our forecast gives you the overall idea of what is likely to happen, and our meteorologists work hard to fine tune the most likely times for precipitation in the hourly forecast. However, summer weather can change so quickly that we’ve recently introduced another tool to help with your decision making. 

3-Hour Precip Start Stop can be found on your city page on our website. It’s an estimate of when precipitation will start and stop for your location based on radar. While not perfect, it does very well for timing bands of thunderstorms and should be a great tool this weekend to tell you whether you’ve got a 3 hour window of dry conditions, or whether rain is approaching.

If you’re more of a weather geek like me, then the ultimate tool for making short term weather-related decisions is radar. Radar shows exactly where rain is occurring. Looking at a radar map also gives you a good feel of how chaotic summer weather can be. Predicting a thunderstorm is like trying to predict the precise location and timing of a bubble rising in a pot of boiling water. Radar can identify these bubbles of active weather, and our forecast radar product gives you an idea of where these cells will move.

Weekends like this can be frustrating to plan for. Along with your local forecast, these tools can help you navigate through the wet patches and maximize the dry time.

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