Psst, do you know where September went?

Maybe it's time to put a photo of September on the side of a milk carton or launch a search party, because somehow it went missing and October took its place.

Sun should finally return by end of the week but temperatures aren't expected to bounce back

There is still plenty of colour out there but a miserable September has made it difficult to enjoy the change of season. (Lourdes Casañares/Facebook)

Remember when it was hot? When there was sun?

Maybe it's time to paste a photo of September on the side of a milk carton because somehow it went missing from southern Manitoba and October took its place.

And if you're hoping it's just a blip, that some heat will return so we can enjoy the fall colours without looking through a rain-streaked window, that bubble of optimism is about to be popped.

The sun should finally return by the end of the week, but temperatures aren't expected to bounce back.

"This trend that we're seeing now will certainly continue for the next two weeks at the very least," said Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

"We're looking at 10 C and 11 C for the next few days and then we kind of get into this weird little slump where temperatures sit during the day around 5 C and don't really warm up much again maybe until later next week."

The normal high for this time is 16.5 C. The normal low is 4 C.

The forecast calls for overnight lows of –2 C by Friday.

'Cherish it and move on'

Those numbers are difficult to accept for many who went through one of the hottest and driest summers in recent memory.

There were 26 days when the temperature hit 30 C or warmer this summer, prompting heat warnings from the national weather agency.

"I think change allows us to remember and really appreciate what we have. If it were hot all the time, we'd probably just take it for granted," Hasell said.

"You'll just have to cherish it and move on. You don't really have a choice here."

Hasell suggests using the weather as a prompt to start preparing for the big change that is coming. Get those furnaces checked, make sure your shingles are ready, make plans to winterize your car and assemble an emergency road kit.

"Get it done now before the real bad stuff shows up," she said. "It seems weird to be talking about winter weather when it's the beginning of fall, but that's the reality here."

Many people in southern Manitoba were greeted by snow on the first day of fall. (Lourdes Casañares/Facebook)

Perhaps there is a sliver of hope in a really long-range forecast that was issued by Environment Canada at the end of August. It looked at September, October and November as a whole and called for above-normal temperatures for the quarter.

Hasell said it's difficult to predict anything that far in advance, and that forecast is probably already stale. But if you want something to cling to …

"Maybe September is the cold month and October and November will be better," she said.

"But I don't know. I'm trying to find some good news."

Extension of summer

September has often felt like an extension of August, with double-digit temperatures and average highs around 21 C, at least since 2012.

In that same time, the average rainfall has been about 35 millimetres for the month, except for 2015 and 2017, which saw more than 60 mm.

Even that amount is a sprinkle compared to 2018 and its soaking total of 103 mm so far.

The average temperature to this point is 19 C, which doesn't sound terrible. But that was boosted by summer heat — 26 C and 28 C — that lingered at the start of the month.

The mercury did hit 27 C in the middle of the month, but the next day was 12 C and for the most part since then, things haven't been much warmer.

The first day of fall, Sept. 22, was ushered in by snow in many parts of the province, including some neighbourhoods in Winnipeg.

"We've had a number of years where, certainly, temperatures at this time of year have been warmer. It can be very different from one year to the next, how September goes," Hasell said.

If snow and cooler temperatures are the worst we can complain about, then it's so not bad, she said, referring to the disastrous tornado that ripped through Ottawa and Gatineau on Friday.

"Try to find something to enjoy in the slightly cool weather we're having right now. It could always be worse."


Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories. He is the author of award-nominated and bestselling The Lesser Known: A History of Oddities from the Heart of the Continent.