Column: More hot, dry weather to come, climatologist says

A hot dry summer this year followed by an El Nino event in the winter could threaten water supply issues in coming years.

We may see some relief from the heat this coming weekend but according to Environment Canada and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures will remain above normal for the next month and probably into the fall. And, according to NOAA, we could be getting less rain than normal. So far, July has continued the trend of record-breaking heat waves.

“On July 13, a maximum record of 34.5 degrees Celsius occurred,” said Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada. “The average for the day is 24.2 degrees Celsius. The previous record for that day was 33.9 degrees Celsius in 1961. After exceeding the record 34.3 degrees Celsius on July 1, July 13 was the hottest day in Chilliwack since the record-breaking 36.0 degrees Celsius on August 14, 2010. The all-time Chilliwack maximum record of 38.2 degrees Celsius occurred on July 29, 2009, the second day of a three-day heat wave that year.”

Pannett said that to date, this month’s temperatures have been two to seven degrees Celsius above normal. As for precipitation, as at July 16 we’ve only had 2.4 mm rain, on track to possibly match last year’s July precipitation at 5.0 mm.

“The average July rainfall is 46 mm on six days,” said Pannett, adding that Chilliwack weather records were started in 1881.

Over half of the province has been under the hot spell due partly to really hot air being pumped from the southwestern United States under a strong high ridge. All this heat and dryness spurred an air quality advisory for the Fraser Valley due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone that have persisted for several days.

Then of course, there are wildfires and from April 1 to July 16 there have been 564. The 10-year average taken from 2003 to 2012 is 1,908 fires, 38.6 per cent caused by people and 61.4 per cent caused by lightning with 2009 having the most number of wild fires at 3,064. Smoke from wildfires blazing in NWT and northern Alberta is already clouding the skies in northeastern U.S.A.

This weekend though might bring some relief with a bit of rain.

“The situation now is the high ridge in western Canada and it’s not going to go away,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. “There will be some precipitation this weekend but not much. This is the dry season. Our models show that what you see is what you are going to get. Early spring we predicted it would be a warmer than normal summer. There has also been so little precipitation. What we are showing is that, after a little change this weekend, later next week and into August it’s going to be dryer and warmer. It’s as though you are not getting enough weather. You should be getting precipitation but it’s down and continues to stay down. What are different are the warmer temperatures.”

Phillips said that they are fairly sure an El Nino event will materialize 60 per cent in August and 80 to 90 per cent in late fall and early winter. According to NOAA, during June this year above-average sea surface temperatures were prominent in the eastern equatorial Pacific although there has been some weakening since.

It is the warm sea surface temperatures that influence the El Nino current bringing worldwide weather changes. Phillips warned that a hot dry summer this year followed by an El Nino event in the winter could threaten water supply issues in coming years.

“A year from now if El Nino materializes you could be into a bit of a water shortage,” said Phillips. “The atmosphere will suck up any moisture which could interfere with water supply and power production.”

Just Posted

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

UPDATE: Police response on Cheam First Nation a ‘non-event’, RCMP say

More than two dozen RCMP and ERT vehicles were at the First Nation looking for a known fugitive

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Most Read