Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good News for Racing ... but not for Farmers' Markets

An early forecast was released today by the weather people indicating that our summer is looking to be on the hot and dry side.

From a racing perspective, that makes me happy because nobody likes switching tires to accomodate the mud, least of all me.

We'll see how I feel about the high temperatures though. Need more hot yoga to get ready!

Check it out at Thestar.com, or read it right here:


Summer outlook: Lots more sun and heat than last year
Debra Black
Staff Reporter

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 up 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.

After the past two summers — the wettest back-to-back summers on record — many of us have forgotten what the dog days of summer are like. In 2008 — the wettest summer of record — Toronto received close to 400 millimetres of rain. In the summer of 2009, we got 300 millimetres. The normal amount is about 228 millimetres.

So Phillips believes that this summer will at least feel drier. “This is my fearless forecast,” he said, “We’d feel it was dry compared to the last two summers.”

One of the rare benefits to a wet summer, Phillips suggested, is that there is virtually no smog — a delight for those with breathing conditions.

But that relief might be a distant memory in a few months if the weather model is accurate. 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 the paltry 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, so break out your sunglasses.

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.