One of Canada’s most high-profile weather forecasters says that while spring may have been slow to start, it will be a hot summer throughout much of the country. Environment Canada says there should be plenty of days to enjoy fun in the water this summer. The weather agency is predicting above normal temperatures for most of the country. Fernie’s rivers and lakes will prove to be popular this summer and there is potential for backcountry closures.

Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott predicts warmer weather than 2017 across the country, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories will see the most significant heat, and could be at risk for drought and wildfires as a result. “There’ll be a lot of really great days,” he said. “We think this will be a ‘When it rains, it pours’-type scenario.”

That precipitation marks “a contrast to the signal for dryness across southern B.C. (and) the grain belts of the Prairies,” he said. Hot, dry conditions like the kind expected in Western Canada have the potential to lead to wildfires, particularly in July and August. “Signals are concerning for the west,” Scott said. “You’ve got a combination of hot temperatures, drought (and) fuel to burn.”

That’s due in part to the fact that El Nino won’t be a very big factor in this year’s weather patterns, while La Nina — colder-than-average surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean — is weak this year.

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