Top News

The Guardian

CINDY DAY: Rainfall numbers don’t tell the tale

Sylvie Theriault has an eye for beautiful things -she also knows that I am a huge Montreal Canadiens' fan.  She came across this wishing well while driving through Clare, N.S., late last month. She says "maybe the wish is for the Habs to win the cup next year".  Wouldn't that be nice!  Meanwhile, I'm also wishing for more rain to top up the wells in the area.
Sylvie Theriault has an eye for beautiful things -she also knows that I am a huge Montreal Canadiens' fan. She came across this wishing well while driving through Clare, N.S., late last month. She says "maybe the wish is for the Habs to win the cup next year". Wouldn't that be nice! Meanwhile, I'm also wishing for more rain to top up the wells in the area. - Contributed.

Welcome to fall! That’s right, meteorological summer - June, July and August is behind us.  

Astronomical summer is around for a while longer; it’s doesn’t officially end until 10:30 a.m. on the 22nd of this month.  

It’s been a hot one for sure; records were set in terms of duration of high heat, number of days higher than 20 degrees and days over 30 degrees.   

Moncton, N.B. led the way with 23 days with a daytime high temperature of 30 of more. The previous record was 19 days set in 1949. There were five such days in Halifax and Charlottetown and four in Sydney and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL. 

As far as the rain situation goes, anecdotally, most would say it’s been very dry across the Maritime provinces and wetter in Newfoundland and Labrador.   

JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 2020           NORMAL FOR JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 

HALIFAX                              242.0 mm                      286 mm 

SYDNEY                               247.8 mm                      286 mm 

SUMMERSIDE                     143.4 mm                      275 mm 

CORNER BROOK                198.8 mm                      276 mm 

ST. JOHN’S                           467.8 mm                      290 mm 

LABRADOR                         347.9 mm                      298 mm  

Buried within the rainfall snapshot are interesting details that are not always obvious: the lack of rain days and rate of rainfall. It’s been desperately dry in southwestern Nova Scotia.  Shelburne’s August rainfall was 55 mm. That doesn’t sound terrible but more than 53 mm of that came on 2 days: 10 mm on the 17th and 43 mm last Saturday, the 29th. 

Rainfall numbers are not always an accurate measure of the season. Keeping a diary with notes about the general weather conditions can paint a much more accurate picture.  

People are already asking what fall is going to be like. Before I comment on that, and I don’t usually make season-long predictions, I want to quickly look back on why it’s been so hot and dry.    

This summer, the Bermuda High, that large subtropical semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure typically found south of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, sits much farther north than usual. The position of the system and the wind-field around it resulted in “Ontario heat” settling over Atlantic Canada.  It also pushed up the jet stream. Most of the summer, the highway along which systems travel was across Labrador so that explains the higher rainfall totals over parts of that province.  

During the next few weeks, I expect the controlling system to slowly sink southward. That more typical location for the system will allow the jet stream to flatten out and also sink southward, in turn allowing weather systems approaching from the west to move across Atlantic Canada.   

Overall, I believe that, eventually, our fall season will be a little on the wet side with near or above seasonal temperatures.   

Happy Meteorological Autumn. 


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

Recent Stories