Weather Network forecasting hot, dry summer for Peace region

It’s a good news/bad news situation regarding the summer forecast outlook here in the Peace region. Forecasters with the Weather Network are predicting a hot and dry summer in western Canada, including this part of the province but with the pleasant sunny days comes an even more serious situation regarding forest fires.

The temperature has already been above seasonal and that trend is expected to continue. So far spring has been on average three degrees warmer than normal.

Erin Wenckstern, a meteorologist with the Weather Network said the past few summers have been warm and dry, and that trend is likely to continue this year through the end of August.

“What we’re seeing is a déjà vu moment for the summer. [The] typical pattern we’ve been seeing over this past summer and past couple winters where you have a big ridge in the jet stream which helps to bring in a lot of heat to B.C., the North West Territories, as well as the Yukon. For you guys, dry and above normal temperatures is kind of what’s in the forecast.”

The downside to the nice conditions outdoors will be the impact on the forest fire situation. With the risk of fires already at extreme in some areas, it’s a case that’s not likely to improve in the coming months.

“That’s kind of a terrible situation for the forest fires,” she admitted. “The forecast unfortunately is not really favourable. A lot of people are cheering because it’s going be warm temperatures and pretty dry conditions, but it’s a terrible set up for the continuation of forest fires which we’ve already been seeing. There’s been many wild fires.”

Presently there are two factors playing a part in the conditions that will persist over the summer. Strengthening El Nino conditions means warmer than normal sea surface temperatures coming from the west parts of South America. Also being factored is warm pacific sea surface temperatures off of the west coast of the province and south of Alaska.