Crops wilt in a field in Canada, 15 July 2012. A lack of rain and extremely hot temperatures badly affecting crops mean that Canadian consumers will likely be paying more for their produce. CBC

15 July 2012 (CBC News) – Most of Central and Eastern Canada is experiencing extreme heat and little rain causing drought conditions, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada says.

"I'd call it a drought, no question about it," David Phillips told the CBC News Network in an interview Sunday afternoon.

"Besides the lack of precipitation, there is just this hot weather and it's like a double whammy," Phillips said. "There's no rain and all that heat demands evaporation … it's almost as if the atmosphere has forgotten how to rain."

That could mean shoppers might see the price of produce go up.

So far this summer there have been record-setting high temperatures across Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces coupled with some of the lowest rainfall on record.

“It’s devastating,” said Stan Szatrowski, a farmer in Simcoe, Ontario. “It’s the worst it’s ever been. The yield will be half of what it normally should be.”

But Szatrowski added that as farmers like him feel the pain, so will consumers.

“Chances are prices will go up for the consumer, but there's nothing we can do about it,” he said. “With the price of fuel and the crop, that's just kind of the way it goes. We're not making any more money. We're losing money." […]

Evan Fraser, who studies the social impacts of agriculture at the University of Guelph, said the price of corn has already gone up about 30 per cent over the past few weeks.

“The weather of the next two weeks will be absolutely critical in determining how our corn farmers fare, in terms of this year’s harvest,” Fraser said. […]

Although some showers are expected, it may not be enough to make a significant difference if it comes in the form of brief thunder storms.

"The problem is when you get your rain in these heavy bursts — these thunder storms — a lot of that just ends up in the sewer drain anyway as run off," Scotland said. "But we’ll take what we can get at this point." […]

Drought in Central, Eastern Canada baking crops

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