The continent appears to be split into two distinct weather patterns this summer: extremely wet or dangerously dry. We all know how wet a year it has been here in southern Quebec, across eastern Ontario and into northern New England. At the same time, they are desperately hoping for rain in fire-ravaged B.C. The culprit this July is a rather large area of high pressure anchored over the central US. Under that dome, temperatures have soared into the upper 30s, with very little rainfall. The influence of this high pressure occasionally nudges into western Canada, keeping that region hot and dry as well. Around the ring of high pressure is a region of instability, with frequent showers and thunderstorms. In many cases, the storms have been severe, with flash flooding. Flooding has affected portions of Arizona, the Great Lakes, New England and southern Quebec, south along the Atlantic Seaboard into the US southeast.
|Smoke from the British Columbia wildfires has now spread as far east as Manitoba (dark grey). There is a chance we may even see some in Ontario and Quebec before the end of July. (Environment Canada)|
|Fire damage from Loon Lake, BC. (CBC)|
In western Canada, more hot and dry weather is forecast in Alberta and Saskatchewan to end July. In B.C., temperatures will trend a little cooler, but unfortunately no appreciable rain is in the forecast. The state of emergency, in effect since the start of the month, has been extended for another two weeks. Over 140 fires are burning across the province, having already consumed over 3200 square kilometres. Of those fires, 27 are considered major, with 15 threatening communities. BC resources are being augmented, with an additional 100 firefighters expected to arrive this week from Ontario. They will join 830 already on the ground from across Canada, including 45 from Quebec and 54 from Australia. To date, 41 homes and three dozen trailers have been lost to the fires. The cost to battle the wildfires has now exceeded $100 million, with over 40,000 residents evacuated. Outdoor fire bans remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Smoke from the fires has drifted as far east as Manitoba, and into the central portions of the US. Air quality advisories have been in effect on almost a daily basis across southern BC and Alberta.