Climate Comment for October 2019: A Pretty Nice Month… Until the End

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Submitted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Although October was a normal month for temperature, with a mean of 8.9C, it was bright with several stretches of mild, sunny weather. The week before Thanksgiving was particularly nice with seven straight days of sun, and the holiday Monday was also a good one for catching some late-season rays. Altogether there were fifteen days of sunshine, making this one of the sunniest Octobers in recent years.

The highest temperature was 20.9C on the 11th but by the 26th we were flirting with frost. At Big Tub we hit 0.1C. The other side of the road, just a few meters further from the water, and down the Peninsula, Jack Frost was very evident.

Despite all those sunny days I’ve mentioned, it was a wet month. The blessing was that most of the rain occurred overnight. We had about 30 mm. around Thanksgiving weekend with winds gusting to 53 kms/hr. Another 25 mm. came down on the 26th/27th.

But the worst was yet to come. A violent storm arrived on Halloween; wind speeds from 5pm that evening until 6am on November 1st never dropped below 40 kms/hr and gusts routinely approached 80 kms/hr. Considerable damage ensued, particularly to Lion’s Head and Big Tub lighthouses, as the gales came from the NNE.

We actually did better than many areas of the province. The north shore of Lake Erie reported gusts of 129 kms/hr and Sudbury got 17 cm. of snow. For many of us at the tip of the peninsula there was a multi-hour power cut which, incidentally, damaged my weather station with what I’m guessing was a spike in the current. I lost several days of data for November before I was able to get it back on line.

The storm produced enough precipitation to put us well above the norm for October – 124 mm. or 30 mms above average. This continues a trend of wet autumn months that has been quite evident in recent years and which are likely one of the causes of our high water levels.

November has started much more wintry than is normal but Environment Canada is suggesting the second half of the month will improve. Let’s hope.