Toronto facing ‘abnormally dry’ drought conditions

Toronto is experiencing ‘abnormally dry’ drought conditions, according to the Canadian Drought Monitor (CDM).

The CDM, a metric used to track and report drought in the country, shows Toronto and most of the GTA, including Mississauga and Brampton, are graded as “abnormally dry.”

Agriculture Canada environmental scientist, Catherine Champagne, tells the Star, “Around Toronto we’re looking at about 50 millimetres short of what you would normally expect the amount of rain to have over a season.”

Champagne adds that Toronto’s precipitation level relative to the normal baseline and long term average started to decline since May.

“So it’s about 60 per cent of the normal rainfall that we normally get up to this point in the summer,” says Champagne.

Environment Canada meteorologist Steven Flisfeder says the area around Pearson airport has received a total of 102.2 millimeters for the summer months. “Which would put it as the second least amount of precipitation for those months on record,” says Flisfeder.

Hot and humid conditions in southern Ontario were common during the peak of summer, as the cities experienced consecutive heat warnings while temperatures paired with humidity were in the 40s.

According to Champagne, some pockets around southern Ontario are experiencing “severe drought,” like Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and around Sarnia. These areas are seeing 40 per cent of the normal rainfall, says Champagne.

The Canadian Drought Monitor uses categories that are based on precipitation percentiles that relate to a statistical period.

A “severe drought” grade means it’s a one in 10 year event, referring to the frequency of drought conditions. An “abnormally dry” grade indicates a one in three year event.

Drought conditions in the southeastern Ontario area are forecast to end late September, according to the CDM.


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