Finally, a bit of good news from Environment Canada for people struggling with a "very difficult spring."
The latest outlook from the agency suggests that most of the country can look forward to warmer-than-average summer temperatures. Although the projection won't be official until June 1, the draft outlook will be welcomed by those who have shivered through recent weeks.
"I think Canadians are feeling somewhat cheated this spring," said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "This time last year we were drinking beer on patios, the lawn furniture was out, people were in the garden and farmers were in the field."
In fact, he said, the spring of 2010 was anomalously warm. But that may be of minimal comfort to those who have been yearning for heat and sunshine and waiting for hints that summer is approaching.
"It's been a very difficult spring," Mr. Phillips said. "Everything is delayed a couple of weeks based on normal. But compared to last year it's probably five weeks."
The latest outlook map issued by the agency uses red to indicate areas expected to receive above-average temperatures from June through August and blue to indicate below-average. The agency looks at temperatures over the period as a whole and describes them as high if the average is expected to be at least one degree beyond the norm.
The resulting picture looks like a Liberal Party fantasy, with nearly the entire country painted red.
According to this map, the only areas of Canada not expected to be warmer than normal this summer are parts of the East and West coasts and a few relatively unpopulated chunks in the interior. And Mr. Phillips said he had a more up-to-date map, which has not been released, that shows those unlucky areas shrinking.
"It really is showing from Vancouver almost to St. John's being warmer than normal," he said. "That certainly is good news for Canadians right now."
The agency also released an outlook on precipitation. It indicated a swath stretching from Northern Ontario past the Rockies may get more rain that normal, along with much of Atlantic Canada and Quebec. But these projections are considered less certain than the other map.