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  • Hot, dry summer could result in extended wildfire season

    Alberta is expected to have a much warmer summer than in past years, along with a prolonged wildfire season according to the AccuWeather Special Report: 2019 Canada Summer Forecast which was released on May 29.

    “The confidence is fairly high that we are going to have a hot summer across much of the province,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

    However, with a warm summer there is a concern that many areas of the province will experience droughts,which will significantly affect the northern parts of Alberta and B.C.

    “Based on this forecast, we believe the droughts will continue to worsen across the northern parts of Alberta,” Anderson said.

    Along with the possibility of droughts worsening, there is also a potential for many dry thunderstorms resulting in wildfires in the Rockies.

    “I am concerned that we will be dealing with a fair amount of smoke, the air quality is going to be an issue for much of the province,” Anderson said.

    As more wildfires spark and spread, smoke billowing from the blaze with affect B.C., the Rockies, and Alberta significantly in the second half of the summer, Anderson said.

    “Warm conditions, a lot of haze, smoke, and near normal rainfall is the flavour of the upcoming summer,” he added.

    While creating the 2019 Summer Forecast, Meteorologists take serval things into account to provide the most accurate forecast possible.

    A major factor in creating the forecast is if there is a currently an El Nino, which causes the water surrounding the equator to be warmer than usual, and affects the weather patterns.

    “We have a weak El Nino right now going on in the Pacific,” Anderson said.

    He added, “It’s not that unusual, especially with the climate change. There’s a lot of warming going on. There are no questions about it.”

    Meteorologists then match previous Spring weather patterns going back to the 1960’s with today’s weather patterns, to predict what the summer will look like.

    Anderson added, Meteorologists have begun to look at the fall forecast, and have found signs that the fall could be unusually warm in Western Canada creating a prolonged wildfire season.

    “It’s not a good thing. We’re concerned about the extended fire season,” Anderson said.