It may be hot and sunny this week, for the most part, but Friday marks the first official day of autumn. Does that mean it’s time batten down the hatches, close up the cottages and prepare for the long hibernation? Not just yet, says Canada’s weather guru, David Phillips, who’s predicting a mild start to fall.
That’s an improvement on the lest-than-stellar summer we’re leaving behind.
“What we see for the next week, right through and including the weekend, we see some very delightfully pleasant days, sunny days – very warm days,” says Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. “It’s like the summer we never had.”
The normal temperatures for this time of year is around 19 degrees, but we’re looking at a few days hitting 28 – so it’s clear sailing for those not willing to let summer go, at least for the time being.
“I think nature’s working overtime to try and please us. And this weather is very good for farmers for getting the crop, for allowing the grapes to sweeten up and any farm work to begin and to get finished,” he said. “But it’s just the fact that it’s just a little bit too much, too late.”
It’s a great end to an otherwise lousy summer, which saw the region hit with everything from rain to tornadoes to even hail in places farther out – everything, that is, except sunshine.
“I don’t think the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area was as bad as we’ve seen in other parts of Ontario, but people still complained about the fact that weekends were wet and there were a lot of days with rain. It was like the water-torture test,” says Phillips.
“I think that, certainly for me, what the big difference was is that it wasn’t so much cold, it just wasn’t hot. I mean, we had five days where the temperature got about 30.” Last year, by comparison there were 27 of those days.
“So it was good beer-drinking weather last year but not so much this year, and the water temperature was not as warm. And wet weekends, that just made people feel kind of a little miserable.”
But surely with such a misery-inducing season past, people deserve something a little better for their troubles going forward, right? While weather does not as a general rule have a sense of justice, that certainly may be the case.
“Our models seem to suggest that October will be warmer and November will be warmer than normal. But it is actually October warmth, not July warmth.”
In the short-term, the warm weather may hold up, says Phillips, but it’s tough to keep that momentum going.
“When we get into October we see it’s hard to hold those warm temperatures,” he says. “And the other thing too is typically, we have frost in October and so that’s likely to occur.
“Typically, in (Waterloo Region) the average date of the first frost is often September the 30th, but I don’t think you’re going to get it before right until October. And you’ll probably have frost on the pumpkin. By gosh, you could have snow on the ground in October. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that every day is going to be miserable.”
So a milder October and a later frost seem to be in the cards.
“The other thing that’s very golden for us is the colour change this season. It’s going to be glorious this year. I mean it may be the best ever, because what species loved this summer? We were complaining about it, (but) trees loved it. This time last year there were a lot of leaves on the ground. It was dry, it was hot, there were crispy leaves folded up that were laying on the ground,” says Phillips.
Just be sure not to miss your chance to catch the leaves in their full hue before it’s too late, advises Phillips.
“Don’t procrastinate, because if you get a good day where the colour is at its peak, well, book off, (call in) sick, play hooky and go for it. Because next week it could be a windstorm with rain and knock all the leaves off. So you can’t wait for it.”