A lousy summer had plenty of positives
The Hamilton Spectator
(Sep 29, 2009)
Let me ask you a simple question: What have you been talking about the most in the past few months?
The economy, job losses, the restructuring of General Motors?
Has it been Hamilton's NHL hockey team or the dream to have one, again?
How about the Pan Am Games bid or a new stadium? Another election?
Maybe it's been the Ticats? The death of Michael Jackson? City Hall? Water flooding Hamilton basements?
Well at least now you're getting warmer. And so was the weather as soon as summer officially ended and fall started at 5:18 p.m. on Sept. 22.
Everywhere you go, no matter who you're talking to, someone will eventually bring up the weather. Why? It affects us all. It has aggravated us all for most of the summer (or lack thereof).
It's the one ingredient that can make or break the perfect day, long weekend or vacation.
To say southern Ontario has had a disappointing summer is an understatement.
Last week, we had an overnight low of 19 C. We haven't seen that temperature overnight since early summer when we had a great week of weather in June. Remember? Many do, simply because it was the warmest weather we had all summer until very recently.
The weekend before, I was up in cottage country and we got frost as the overnight temperature dropped to 1 C.
The only records broken this summer were for rainfall, not hot temperatures. Dave Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada, recently said on CHML we've only had one day above 30C and that was when summer was all but over.
The good news in all of this is we have had only one smog advisory (on Aug. 15) and in most areas it never materialized. The City of Toronto's website didn't record one smog day. That's very unusual for this area during summer.
There is another advantage to a crappy summer. It's been a low A/C season. How many times has your air conditioner been on this summer? Have you ever wondered how much money you have saved on energy costs this recession?
What about severe weather? Phillips also says we've only had a few tornadoes in Ontario this year. By this time we have normally had about a dozen.
Reason? You need hot air as well as cold air to trigger severe weather and outside of the heavy rainfall, we have been lucky in that department. Although you may have a hard time convincing the people of Vaughan after a tornado late this summer left many homeless.
Another advantage? Look at your lawn. How many times have you watered this season?
With the exception of late August and early September, when we had 21 straight rainless days, we have not had to water anything, other than to drown our sorrows for a less than stellar summer.
Who has had a great summer? The West. Last week, Edmonton and Calgary recorded temperatures above 30 C.
I lived in Calgary for three years and never saw the high 20s, let alone 30 C.
Some blame climate change for all of this and they may be right, but if you look back in the record book you'll see weather patterns like this have been around since the beginning of the last century and even earlier. This year was just one of those years.
The good news in all of this is Phillips expects a milder winter with less snow than last year. Great news, if like me, you broke down last winter and finally bought a snow blower!
Phillips says El Nino will be a common term heard this winter as the warm Pacific waters that cycle through every three to eight years will help to keep the bite out of this winter.
Time will tell. Don't hold him to it. After all, he's just a weatherman.
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on News/Talk 900 CHML.
Visit his website at ScottThompsonTalk.com