Warmer weather expected to continue as fall gets underway
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Warmer weather expected to continue as fall gets underway

Though there are some signs of change, the real fall colours lie ahead. [Bill Atwood]

As autumn makes its official arrival in Waterloo Region there is still plenty of summer left in the air, according to Environment Canada.

“One of the advantages of having a warmer-than-normal summer, and particularly in September … September has been almost three degrees warmer than normal, and probably the most anomalously warm month of the entire summer,” said senior climatologist David Phillips.

“So it certainly was warmer but the dryness continues and I’m sure that is a concern to farmers. Although they’re into obviously finishing up the harvest season, but they want some moisture for planting winter wheat and some of the stuff they do around the farm.”

Although fall will be warmer than usual, it will not be overly hot, Phillips noted.

“We can’t expect July temperatures to come back in October. We can sometimes see temperatures above 30 degrees in September. We can sometimes see it before Thanksgiving but it is very rare. I think because the summer was warmer than normal and things haven’t cooled off dramatically, the ground still has a lot of heat, the rivers and the lakes have residual heat. And so sometimes when you get those cool air masses arriving in the fall, they’re tempered somewhat, they’re moderated because of the summer warmth that you’ve had that kind of stored heat,” he explained.

It won’t be “muscle shirts and tank tops,” weather but “comfortable weather,” Phillips added.

“It’s energy-free time: you don’t have to have your air conditioning on. It’s really my favourite time of the year, and I think a lot of Ontarians like the fall. It’s just that you’d like it to go on until the end of December, but that’s not often the case,” he said.

Precipitation is expected to be near normal throughout the season.

“We need precipitation. We always hope it doesn’t fall on weekends, and that it’s  more 2 in the morning rather than 2 in the afternoon, but we can’t control that. However, we think precipitation will be kind of near normal. The Americans are saying something similar; they’re calling it for a warmer and maybe a little drier than normal, but getting near normal as we move along into the fall,” Phillips said.

His take is shared by the forecast released last week by The Weather Network. For Ontario, it says warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected to dominate most of the fall season with extended periods of pleasant weather through October. However, the milder pattern could break down before we get to the end of the season.

“Most Canadians are enjoying an extended summer season with dry weather and mid-summer-like temperatures continuing deep into September,” said Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at The Weather Network, in a release. “Extended periods of pleasant fall weather are expected to last through much of October across most of the country.”

Warmer than normal temperatures are expected to dominate most of the fall season with extended periods of pleasant weather through October. However, the milder pattern could break down before we get to the end of the season. We also expect fewer fall storms than what we typically see, but a few storms could still pack quite a punch with heavy rain.

The colour-change season looks really positive this year, with the big changes happening after Thanksgiving, Phillips added.

“The trees love the summer that we had. They were a little stressed by the lack of precipitation but they can overcome that. And we think that with fine fall weather the viewing weather will be pretty good. The colour-change season is the gift from the atmosphere. It is that fifth season it is that one where particularly in Ontario, where the harvest comes in the colours changed magnificently. The reds and the purples and the golds – I mean it’s just really magical,” said Phillips.

Often when people ask Phillips about fall, they really want to know what winter will be like. However, one season does not give a clue about the next, he said.

“You wish you would have this thing all figured out, but the only carryover from summer to fall is the early arrival of fall or winter-like weather. And because we’ve had such a warm summer…a lot of that residual heat is that is the gift that keeps giving and so that we will be seeing that it will kind of temper some of those air masses that come from the west. The polar vortex will have not quite the strength that it has here as it went out west because of the residual heat and the lakes and the land and the rivers and things like that.”

However it is not quite time to worry about winter tires or putting away lawn furniture,” emphasized Phillips

“I think there is still a lot of good weather to enjoy here in southern Ontario to enjoy the harvest, to enjoy the colour-change season and to worry about winter when it arrives.”

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