Environment and Climate Change Canada's Senior Climatologist says the people of Portage la Prairie should prepare for a warmer-than-normal summer.

June 1 marked the start of summer on the meteorological calendar, and David Phillips caught up with PortageOnline to deliver his summer outlook for the area.

Before we look ahead, we must first look back to what has already passed us by, according to Phillips.

"The weather so far in southern Manitoba and the Portage la Prairie area has been favourable for the kind of summer we see coming. We've had some well-watered moments in April and May; both months got more moisture than you normally would receive."

Phillips point out that May had 40 - 45 % more precipitation than what would be considered normal.

"Last year, we were maybe talking about the D word (drought) and farmers were saying, 'My gosh, we need it to rain!' Well, they've had a lot of a lot of rain this year. And when it came it, it came down in heavy amounts too. So, it was, in a way, kind of like a water torture test."

He highlights that April was warmer than average, and May was closer to the norm based on their models.

"The key thing is that the moisture levels across all of southern Manitoba are much higher than they normally would be. I see some areas say from West of Winnipeg down through Portage to be almost double what they normally would be in the last say 90 days."

The very wet start to the year bodes well for growers, ranchers, and backyard gardeners, predicts the  Senior Climatologist. Going forward, he says that the warmer-than-normal forecast for Southern Manitoba is backed by both the U.S. Weather Bureau and the European Service.

"June, July, and August, to our models suggest that it will be warmer than normal. I'm not sure it will be as warm as what we saw last year, when we saw May right through September in Portage had a lot of days above 30°," he continues. "It turned out to be from May to September, the warmest summer on record in over 77 years. I'm not sure it's going to be as warm as that. But I think it clearly will be the flavour and the personality of the summer coming up."

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Phillips notes that there's some good news associated with all the rain we have received to this point.

"With all that moisture you've had, which people may have been cursing at in May, they'll be blessing it in July when you run into less moisture," laughed Phillips.

He says that every day this summer may not be consistently scorching, but when you crunch the future numbers from June, July, and August, Environment and Climate Change Canada thinks it will be a statistically hot summer.

Severe weather is also an area to keep an eye out for during the lazy, hazy and crazy days of summer adds Phillips.

"With the higher humidity, crops are growing feverishly, you're going to add moisture instability to the atmosphere, and so you certainly can get your share of hail storms, wind storms, rain events and even the odd tornadic kind of situation. That shouldn't scare you. You shouldn't be hiding under your bed because of that. We're not all a country of just blizzards and polar vortexes; we do get severe summer weather."