Tuesday marks the official first day of summer, and after the severe drought the province faced last year, people’s curiosity is peaking about what this summer will bring.  

Environment Canada Meteorologist, Terri Lang was able to shed some light on the early projections for this summer in the Moose Jaw area.  

“It’s showing an equal chance of it either being colder than average or warmer than average,” says Lang. “That’s sort of a non-forecast, but there’s not a strong enough signal.”  

“If had to put some money down, I’d say it would probably be more on the cooler side than anything else just looking at the pattern, it’s supposed to be warmer in the arctic, warmer down east, and over British Columbia and most of Manitoba cooler than average,” adds Lang.  

In terms of exact precipitation and temperature forecasts, Lang could not provide those details and wanted to emphasize that the information given is just a projection and in no way guaranteed. 

“Our ability to forecast precipitation patterns seasonally is not that great, almost up there with throwing darts and that’s not taking away from any of the scientists, but it’s not a skill we’re all that good at unless we have something really solid to hang our hats on like a strong El Nino.” 

Lang notes that this year’s spring has been a lot drier and cooler than average, and that pattern may continue for parts of the summer.  

“We still have the La Nina hanging around in the south pacific, and that’s the one that gave us the cold winter and dreary, cold spring. It was forecasted to dissipate, but it’s still hanging on there.” 

This spring, the distribution of rain has been mostly in the southeastern side of the province with cities like Yorkton and Estevan combining for 271 mm of rain in May. On the other side of the province, Swift Current was a lot drier, with a below-average month of precipitation. Lang says this is the reason storm systems in the province are so hard to track.   

“Most of our precipitation on the prairies comes from thunderstorms and shower activity, not from really well-organized systems in the summer. Those are very hard to forecast.” 

Moving forward into this summer southeastern Saskatchewan into western Manitoba is expected to be wetter than average with large amounts of rain continuing into the summer.  

The summer prior was detrimental to the province, as continuous heat waves and little rain in southern Saskatchewan caused many problems, and Lang says that it’s too hard to forecast if the same thing will happen again.  

In the month of May, Moose Jaw received 61 millimetres of precipitation, which is a big jump from the 48.8 mm average usually seen in the city.   

Almost half of the rain fell on May 13, when 33.5 mm of precipitation hit the community, with the rest scattered throughout the month. Environment Canada says it was the 41st wettest month out of 127 years of data. Since May 13, the Moose Jaw area has only seen 16.1 mm, with only 1.3 mm of rain seen in the first  21 days of June.