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Environment Canada predicting better summer this year

After last summer’s rain and cool temperatures, Toronto residents can look forward to a more traditional, “warmer and drier” summer, according to Environment Canada.

After last summer’s rain and cool temperatures, Toronto residents can look forward to a more traditional, “warmer and drier” summer, according to Environment Canada.

The season, which the weather service defines as June, July and August, will feature more days where temperatures hover above 30 C, more hours of sunshine and less rain than last year, according to climatologist David Phillips.

Officially, Environment Canada doesn’t release its summer forecast until June 1, but provisional models are currently being developed with the help of the weather service’s supercomputer.

And so far it’s all roses, assuming you love the heat.

“Initially, it looks like it will be drier than normal and warmer than normal,” said Phillips.

But those warmer and drier temperatures will also come with problems, Phillips said. The soaring temperatures and southerly winds may mean haze and smog, and that could translate into respiratory problems for those who have asthma or allergies or lung conditions.

The drier conditions could also be hard on crops, gardens, water levels and possibly lead to more forest fires, especially following the drought-like conditions of this winter with very little snow falling in the GTA.

This summer, Phillips is calling for plenty of days topping 30 C — more in line with 2007, when we had 27 of them, compared with three we had last summer.

There will also be more sunshine, Phillips said. Typically, Toronto gets 276 hours of sunshine in June, 302 hours in July and 264 in August. Those numbers were all down in 2009 thanks to all the rain, most dramatically in July, when we had almost 60 fewer hours of sun. This summer, Phillips said the models are now calling for more sunshine than normal.

Phillips cautioned that things could change by June 1 when the official summer forecast is unveiled. Until then, he’s not going to bet his pension on the forecast.