B.C. left waiting for Ontario-like heat wave

VANCOUVER — Meteorologists are predicting a hot and dry summer across the country, but while the sun is shining down nearly everywhere east of the Rockies, British Columbians are left waiting and wondering when, if ever, will it be our turn.

According to the Weather Network’s recently released seasonal outlook for June, July, and August, British Columbians can expect "near normal" temperatures across the province while the northern coastal area — including the Queen Charlotte Islands — can expect less-than-average rainfall over the summer months.

The same report predicts warmer than usual summer temperatures in southern Alberta and most of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Labrador. Normal temperatures are predicted for the remainder of the country, with no region expected to suffer a less-than-seasonable summer, according to the outlook released Wednesday.

While high-temperature records fell this week across much of Ontario as the mercury peaked in the low- to mid-thirties and triggered extreme heat alerts and Humidex warnings across that province, the weather in Vancouver was a cool and wet 12 degrees at midday Wednesday.

"We’re about a degree cooler than normal so far this May," said Mark Madryga, senior meteorologist with Global TV. "But April was actually near or a little above normal so it’s mostly just May that’s been cooler."

But with the memory of hosting the warmest Winter Olympics on record still as fresh in our minds as those February flowers, Vancouverites and tourists alike are reluctant to complain about the climate just yet.

"We’ve just spent a week over in Tofino and it was cold," said Bob Bouchard, emphasizing the word with a drawn-out shiver. "It was eight degrees and raining."

Bouchard and his wife, Pat, both visiting from Toronto, were strolling along Kits Beach in the rain Wednesday with friends Brenda and Fred Bickram of Ottawa.

"But we don’t get rhododendrons back east," said Brenda, to the agreement of the others.

"If you choose to live in a rainforest, this is what you get," said Vancouver resident John Bentley, who was also out enjoying a wet Wednesday afternoon walk. "The price of living in a green city is the weather."

According to Environment Canada, a region’s normal summer temperatures and precipitation levels are determined over a 30-year span. Forecasters calculate the seasonal normal temperature for a region by adding together all the daily temperatures for June, July and August and then dividing this number by the total number of days in the three-month period. Above normal temperatures are temperatures that are at least one degree warmer than this overall average. Above normal precipitation is an increase of at least 30 per cent more rainfall than average for a specific region.

Some meteorologists, however, are skeptical of the usefulness of such long-range seasonal forecasts.

"It’s a little misleading to get too excited about these charts," said Madryga. "We can still get extremely hot weather for two weeks and then extremely cold weather for another two weeks and it will average out to a normal four weeks, statistically."

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