Summer among top 10 warmest in Maritimes

This summer has been one of the top 10 warmest in the Maritimes, with records being set in many parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, according to Environment Canada.

Fall should be warm, but possibly stormy

Environment Canada says the warm summer temperatures could continue into the fall. (CBC)

This summer has been one of the top 10 warmest in the Maritimes, with records being set in many parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, according to Environment Canada.

Those balmy temperatures could continue into the fall, said senior climatologist David Phillips.

But the region could also see some severe weather over the next few months, he said.

It's already been a busy storm season in the Atlantic, and warm water in the region could prolong the effects of any storms that hit this far north, said Phillip.

Upgraded Hurricane Isaac made its way toward Louisiana Tuesday.

Chris Fogarty at the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax, says it's early in the season to have named storms to be that far into the alphabet.

Isaac is not expected to be a threat to Canada, Fogarty said.

May affect gas prices

However, Isaac could drive up gas prices.

Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico affect gas prices the most because they shut down offshore oil drilling, and onshore refining, creating instant shortages.

Four years ago, gas prices in New Brunswick jumped 13 cents a litre overnight when Hurricane Ike hit Texas and triggered the province's special price setting mechanism.

Seven years ago, Katrina forced prices up 25 cents a litre overnight.

Gas prices in New Brunswick are expected to jump three cents per litre this week.

Water effects

The warm weather has raised water temperatures, which have been about 5 C above average this year.

"That cool Atlantic water often will stymie them (hurricanes and tropical storms) and take off a lot of their energy," he said. "But with it warmer than normal, they just may stay a little longer together, so that maybe is a little bit of a threat."

In New Brunswick, warmer water has left many herring weirs empty.

In Nova Scotia, James Mood, president of 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen’s Association, believes warm water this spring caused lobsters in the province to shed their shells about a month earlier than usual.

Some Maritime fishermen have complained about heat weakening lobster, even killing them.

More and more tropical fish are being seen off the coast.

In the Bay of Fundy, the effects of the warmer temperatures worries environmental experts.

"When we add factors like changes in temperature, it risks upsetting some of the balance," said Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper for the New Brunswick Conservation Council.

"Changes they're seeing in whale behaviour, and especially the time of year they're coming to the bay and to northern regions like this may be changing and that may be in large part due to temperature shifts."

Hot and dry

Temperatures have soared across the Maritimes this summer.

In Moncton, for example, the average temperature in July and August has been about 21 C — three degrees above normal, according to Environment Canada.

In Nova Scotia, so far the Halifax area has seen 176 millimetres of rain, that's the seventh lowest amount since 1934.

Many people haven't seen such a stretch of warm and dry weather in their lifetime, said senior climatologist David Phillips.

It's also affecting farmers both in the Maritimes and in North America.

On P.E.I., some varieties of potato crops are expected to be down about 25 per cent.

Canadian air has been giving way to American high pressure areas, pumping the warm southern air toward New Brunswick, said Phillips.

In addition, the jet stream is well to the north.

"We think that the general character of the September, October, into November, will be warmer than normal," he said.

That's good news for tourism and outdoor enthusiasts, but could be a problem for farming and sport fishing, said Phillips.

Weather records were shattered across the province in March. St. Stephen hit 24.6 C; Fredericton, 23.9 C; Moncton, 21 C; and Bathurst 22.8 C.