Cooler Hamilton weather could stick around for fall

Cooler temperatures save households money on air conditioning and allow house painters to pick up more exterior jobs.

A 'bummer of a summer' has some Ontarians fretting about the autumn to come, says Environment Canada

There haven't been many beach days in Hamilton this summer. No days have reached 30 degrees so far in July and August. (Julia Chapman/CBC)

The cooler-than-normal weather we’ve been having in Hamilton could be sticking around come fall.

There tends to be a “persistence” in weather as the seasons change, said Dave Phillips, a climatologist with Environment Canada.

Given the fact that we’ve had sort of a bummer of a summer, people are wondering if there’s any heat left in Mother Nature.- David Phillips, Environment Canada climatologist

That means you can generally expect a bit of “what you see is what you’re gonna get” into the end of summer, which technically stretches through most of September.

“Astronomically, we still have a month to go with regards to summer but given the fact that we’ve had sort of a bummer of a summer, people are wondering if there’s any heat left in Mother Nature,” he said. 

On a typical mid-September day, the temperature might hover around 21, 22 degrees in the afternoon, and around 10 or 11 degrees for a low, Phillips said. In October, the weather tends to drop a few more degrees -- jacket weather with a bit of frost-scraping in the morning, he said.

The weather in September could be cooler than that average, he said, if weather patterns continue like they have.

"We have seen so much Canadian air visiting the province," he said.

Cool days versus 'weather rage'

After a brutal winter, this summer has been unseasonably cool. Hamilton has had zero days above 30 degrees – the “muscle-shirt tank-top-wearing, beer-drinking-on-the-patio” days -- in July and August so far, Phillips said.

In a typical summer, Hamilton might experience a dozen such scorchers. And two summers ago, in 2012, Hamilton had more than 25 days above 30 degrees, he said.

The only hotter-than-30 day this year was before summer even technically started, on June 17, and even then the temperature just eked past the mark at 30.3 degrees.

It’s harder for the thermometer to get to 30 in September, Phillips said. The days are getting shorter and the sun is lower in the sky.

But heat-seekers shouldn’t give up hope. A 30-degree September day could still happen, and does about half the time, Phillips said. He remembers a Thanksgiving when people were barbecuing their turkeys in t-shirts on a 30-degree fluke day.

For this summer, Phillips championed the cool.

“Would you like it comfortable?” he said. “Where you’re sleeping at night, saving money on air conditioning bills? Or your weather rage comes out with the heat and haze and humidity?”

‘It’s perfect for us’

"It’s been the best summer for painting house exteriors in the five years Todd Lacroix has been in business. Todd Lacroix owns a Southern Ontario house-painting company based in Ancaster called Platinum Pro Painters.

On days warmer than 30 degrees, or where there’s a smog warning, he won’t send crews out for exterior jobs. It’s partly for the crew’s safety, partly for the paint. The paint won’t cure properly in those high temperatures, he said. 

“We’re doing a lot of exterior right now,” he said. “It’s perfect for us.”

Phillips chalked up the gripes he’s heard about the un-beachlike weather to a classic trait among his countrymen. 

"My definition of a Canadian is one who worries about winter before summer's even over."


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