Summer Forecast 2016: El Niño passes baton to La Niña
Visit the Summer Forecast Guide to the Season for the 2016 Summer Forecast, Summer Weather Preview and much more.
Monday, June 20, 2016, 6:00 AM - One of the strongest El Niño events on record has strongly influenced weather patterns across Canada and around the globe for the past couple of years. However, as El Niño dissipates and La Niña conditions take its place, we’ll be entering a period of transition in global weather patterns over the next few months.
Editor's Note: June 20 is the first official day of summer, so this article is being resurfaced past its original publish date of May 24, 2016
This transition will have an impact on this summer’s weather, from temperatures to precipitation to tropical storms. How your region be affected? We have all the details below in The Weather Network’s 2016 Summer Forecast, which covers the months of June, July, and August.
Region-by-Region breakdown: Temperature
Most Canadians will have a warm summer with above seasonal temperatures expected across southern and most of western Canada.
Great Lakes, southern Ontario and southern Quebec
Overall, a rather warm summer is expected for most of this region. However, the first half of summer will feature alternating periods of cool weather and hot weather. The focus of the more persistent heat will be during the second half of summer and even into September. While we do not expect this to be an exceptionally hot summer, it will be a distinct change from the past few summers with more thirty-degree days than 2014 and 2015 for places like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
British Columbia and Alberta
Above-normal temperatures are expected for most of this region with only coastal British Columbia expected to remain near normal. For the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, a stronger Pacific influence is expected to keep the heat in check, in contrast to the more persistent warmth of recent summers.
However, while this summer will be warmer than normal across much of interior B.C. and Alberta, we do expect the heat to be as extreme or persistent as it has been during the past few summers.
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Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Most of this region will experience a warm summer, but temperatures are not expected to be exceptionally warm and there will be periods of cool weather at times. Temperatures will trend closer to seasonal across northeast Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba.
Northern Ontario and northern and central Quebec
Most of this region will see temperatures average out to near normal for the summer as a whole. Periods of hot weather are still likely, but this should be offset at times by periods of cooler weather. Near Hudson Bay and across northern Quebec, temperatures are expected to be slightly below seasonal.
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After a cool start to the season during the first few week of June, a transition to a warmer pattern is expected for the Maritimes, especially during the second half of the season. Near normal temperatures are expected for Newfoundland with the potential for slightly below normal temperatures for northern coastal areas and for Labrador.
Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories
Most of this region will see near to above normal temperatures this summer, with the warmest weather relative to normal found in the west. The coolest weather is expected in eastern Nunavut near Hudson’s Bay.
Region-by-Region breakdown: Precipitation
Summer precipitation is typically much more variable than it is during other seasons, since it is often driven by widely scattered showers and thunderstorms as opposed to large, organized weather systems. Therefore, we often see towns or parts of towns with above normal rainfall just a few kilometres from a place with below normal rainfall. That type of detail cannot be addressed in a seasonal forecast.
That said, we expect that most of Canada will see near normal rainfall during the summer. However, most regions will likely still have periods of dry weather during the summer (that is normal) and in areas that have warmer than normal temperatures, even “normal” rainfall can be inadequate to avoid dry conditions with the threat for wildfires and impacts to agriculture.
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Across the Prairies, there are encouraging signs that the majority of the agricultural belt will avoid extreme and persistent drought conditions. However, we are concerned that the dry conditions in the U.S. Midwest will expand into southern Ontario.
Above normal rainfall is expected for parts of Quebec and for parts of northwest B.C. and southeast Yukon.
Of course we will closely monitor the threat for strong to severe thunderstorms during the summer. The summer of 2015 was relatively quiet across Canada with regard to severe weather including tornadoes, but a warm and active weather pattern across Canada should bring a more active severe weather season.
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Sneak Peek: What’s in store for fall
As we move towards the end of summer and into the fall, we expect that the developing La Niña will continue to strengthen and become a significant driver of weather patterns. This will likely have an impact on the hurricane season which peaks in early to mid-September. Overall, we expect a more active tropical season in the Atlantic Basin, but it is too early to determine to what extent this will impact Atlantic Canada.
In addition, the summer pattern is expected to persist and bring widespread above normal temperatures well past Labour Day.