Heat on the horizon
Early predictions indicate a banner summer ahead

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 10/98) - You might as well stock up on the SPF-30 sunblock, think about getting an air conditioner and buy an extra cooler, because it's going to be a hot one.

At least, that's what weather forecasters and a longtime Yellowknifer have to say about the summer ahead.

Why will it be warmer? There's only one answer to that question, said Yvonne Wallace of the Arctic Weather Centre in Edmonton. And it's the same answer that's being given to just about every other question.

"Everything that happens is because of El Nino -- haven't you been reading the newspapers and magazines?" asked Wallace, a note of sarcasm in her voice.

"I saw El Nino at Disney World when I was down there this year," claimed Wallace. "Right on the door, it said 'El Nino' and it had a little picture of a boy."

Translated from Spanish, El Nino means 'little boy.' That was a washroom, not a weather phenomenon, Yvonne.

As a 66-year resident of Yellowknife, Darcy Arden's best guess at the weather we can expect this summer is at least as good as the experts'.

"I'm hoping it will be a little warmer," said Arden. "The way things went this winter, and listening to the newscasts, it seems to me we could have a nice summer."

A warmer summer would fit into a trend toward a more tropical North, Arden said, adding this winter has been the warmest he has experienced.

Another expert backed up Arden's prediction.

"We're looking at generally warmer weather, and as a result it will be a little bit drier," said weather centre forecaster Tim Aldie.

"There will also be more unstable conditions -- probably be more thunderstorms. "

Aldie said the reason for the warmer weather will be that the air masses crossing Yellowknife will be coming from the Pacific more often than the Arctic.

Why? El Nino.

So while you're in the store considering what brand of coconut sun tanning oil you're going to buy, spend some time perusing the insect repellent counter.

This year's warmth, combined with the unusually heavy snowfall during the winter, will reportedly combine for a banner season for mosquitoes and black flies, too.

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