Climate Comment For August 2023: Cool And Inconsistent

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Photo: Parks Canada vessel battling the windstorm in the waters off Tobermory on August 7th.
Submitted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne

After a warm July, August came in cooler than normal by nearly a full degree. More noticeable was the variability – we never seemed to get a prolonged warm spell; temperatures swung to and fro. We started with the mercury in the mid-twenties but then had long spells of highs in the teens. The best day was the 3rd at 26.2C and the worst was the 31st at just 8.9C. Very un-August like.

Consistent with July, however, was precipitation. While not setting any records, the 140 mm. of rain was close to twice the norm. There were ten wet days and it was one of the least sunny Augusts I have recorded. 

We had several windstorms: the 7th saw gusts over 70 km/hr and there were several days when the average windspeed was over 20 km/hr. This resulted in tour boat cancellations as the lake yielded wave heights over two metres. There was some spectacular spray directed at Big Tub Light.

We were not alone. The province generally saw cooler days dominating. London, Toronto and Ottawa all had cooler than average weather and a noticeable lack of 30C days. And then there were tornadoes in the Sudbury-Ottawa region – the latter getting some serious flash flooding on the 3rd. Severe thunderstorms affected the London-Windsor corridor on the 23rd and 24th, resulting in one death, downed barns and snapped-off power poles. Winds hit 145 km/hr in a number of locations. The damage was widespread.

Ironically, September has started out like the August we should have had. Environment Canada is forecasting 29C today, the 5th, with more to come. We’ll see how long that lasts in next month’s column.