Ottawa summer: Heat and humidity could bring more storms

With the warm weather here, beachgoers are basking in the sun, but experts predict that this summer’s above-normal heat could mean more intense storms.

“During that three-month period in the Ottawa Valley, we’re showing it to be warmer than normal,” says David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment Canada.

Humidity is expected to be high this year, bringing more summer storms to the area than in years past.

“We have an average of 20, 25, 27 storm days. And any one of them could be a backyard thunderstorm or it could be a raging day with a lot of damage and lightning and whatever,” says Phillips. “I can’t imagine anything being more severe than what you got on May 21. That was for the record books. It was a kind of legendary storm.”

The May 21 storm nearly destroyed Hydro Ottawa’s power grid, and many homeowners vow to be better prepared for the next big storm.

“The first thing I did when we had that tornado a couple of years ago, I bought myself a generator, I got all my plugs, I can plug everything in,” says Ottawa resident Darlene Smith.

“I can’t say I’m 100 percent ready,” says resident Debbie Boyle, “but I definitely have my eyes open to be a little bit smarter and a little bit more prepared.”

“I would say I’ve prepared myself now after going through that,” says Ottawa resident Kendra Banks. “But you just have to take it day by day.”

Meanwhile, in Canada, summer is a short season and people enjoy the heat.

“Personally, I love warm weather,” says Boyle. “I don’t like humid weather, but I love hot weather.”

Smith agrees with the humidity.

“Once it gets humid, I’m in the house. Forget it,” she says.

“I love the sunlight,” says Ottawa resident Bethany Joy. “I can’t get enough of that vitamin D, that’s for sure. You just have to be a little careful because the UV index today is seven, so wear your sunscreen.”

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