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Warmer than usual summer temperatures in store for much of B.C.

·3 min read
The City of Vancouver says outdoor pools will open on May 22 and will follow the same COVID-19 protocols as last year with the hope that as restrictions ease, capacities can be increased. (Christer Waara/CBC - image credit)
The City of Vancouver says outdoor pools will open on May 22 and will follow the same COVID-19 protocols as last year with the hope that as restrictions ease, capacities can be increased. (Christer Waara/CBC - image credit)

Summer is often the most anticipated season of the year, but in Metro Vancouver, it appears we'll have to endure another wet June-uary before our favourite season hits.

And when that happens, meteorologists are forecasting summer 2021 will see warmer than average temperatures.

"The current outlook for summer is above average temperature for the southern half of the South Coast — mid-Island and south — Haida Gwaii and the southwest Interior," said meteorologist Doug Lundquist with Environment Canada.

The average daily temperature in July and August for Metro Vancouver is 23 C.

June will see increased precipitation across the province, but as to how much rainfall we'll see, Lundquist says meteorologists cannot accurately forecast precipitation beyond seven to 10 days. "And don't believe any that say they can," he said.

Instead, he says, forecasters look to climatology — the study of long-term weather patterns — which make it safe to assume that rain is on its way.

"June is our upper low season and it is the wettest time of year in much of B.C." Lundquist said.

Metro Vancouver says water levels in reservoirs, like this one in the Seymour watershed, are within normal range.
Metro Vancouver says water levels in reservoirs, like this one in the Seymour watershed, are within normal range.(Getty Images/Moment RF)

In past summers, warmer, drier conditions came with elevated water restrictions as lawn sprinkling and car washing increased water use by up to 50 per cent over the course of the season.

Right now, residents and businesses within Metro Vancouver can water their properties twice a week.

In extreme drought conditions, Metro Vancouver can bring in higher stages of restrictions. But because of healthy snowpack levels that isn't expected to change as the season heats up.

"At this time, we do not foresee any restrictions this summer beyond what is typical," said Metro Vancouver spokesperson Niki Reitmayer.

The latest update from the province released Friday shows snowpack levels throughout B.C. are slightly above normal for this time of year.

According to Metro Vancouver, the three mountain water reservoir levels are also within the normal range.

"With a cooler than normal spring, we still have a lot of snow to melt," said CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

"In fact, that spell of summer we had in mid-April didn't do much to melt the alpine snow since the sun angle and hours of daylight were still low."

The B.C. Wildfire Service says predicting the severity of the upcoming fire season at this stage is difficult to do. Fire officials will be carefully watching how much precipitation May and June will bring because significant amounts can help reduce the severity of forest fuels later in the summer.

"This is important because once the larger, deeper fuels begin to dry, the severity of fires tends to increase as well," said fire information officer Karley Desrosiers. "It's the frequency and duration of rainfall that most influences wildfire activity."

Wagstaffe says bear in mind that right now, current weather forecast models are based on 1981 to 2010 normals. The next update from Environment and Climate Change Canada is due next year.

"But after seeing the new normals from the U.S. that just came out for the Pacific Northwest, it's very likely that we will be warmer than our averages since the baseline is shifting warmer with climate change," she said.

Metro Vancouver field hydrologist Peter Marshall and CBC meteorologist Brett Soderholm push a snowpack measuring tool into the snow. New technology is helping provide a clearer picture of the region’s drinking water supply.
Metro Vancouver field hydrologist Peter Marshall and CBC meteorologist Brett Soderholm push a snowpack measuring tool into the snow. New technology is helping provide a clearer picture of the region’s drinking water supply.(Ken Leedham/CBC)
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