By Connor Lynch
TORONTO — Hot and dry has been the story of Ontario’s growing season, and will be the harvest story as well, said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.
Summer can be a turbulent season, weatherwise, with the months being prone to shifting from hot to cold and from wet to dry. Not so this season, said Phillips. Once the heat hit in May it stuck around. By mid-August Ottawa had 31 days above 30 C, where normally it would’ve had 11.
Kingston had 22, where normally it would’ve had 10. On average, Eastern Ontario has been about 2 C hotter than normal. It doesn’t sound like much, but every 1 C above average means we need about 10 per cent more precipitation to break even, he said.
So, when the Ottawa Valley had about 75 per cent normal precipitation and Peterborough region had 55 per cent, those regions are actually further behind than they appear at first glance, he said. Since those regions were warmer than they usually are, they would’ve needed above-average precipitation just to break even. With lower-than-normal precipitation, they’re even further behind.
Producers can expect more hot and dry in September, Phillips said. Sometimes it’s a tentative prediction, but not this year. The models are in agreement, “no question about it,” Phillips said. And precipitation, which is notoriously tricky to get right, is universally across Ontario expected to be drier-than-normal. Farmers will not have to worry about combines getting stuck in the mud and, likely, will not see an early frost, he said.