By Brandy Harrison
LONDON — Farmers readying the combines for harvest could get a summer extension with warmer-than-normal temperatures on tap for autumn, says a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.
“There is a lot of summery weather left in the air. If the forecast holds, there will be a lot of time to get the harvest in. Farmers won’t be rushing,” says David Phillips, suggesting temperatures a degree to a degree-and-a-half warmer than usual highs of 21 C in mid-September and 15 C in mid-October for the London region. “It doesn’t remove the risk of a surprise wintery look. It just means it’s a teaser.”
There are no guarantees in forecasting rainfall, but Western Ontario looks to be close to normal, says Phillips. The London area averages about 80 to 90 millimetres over 13 days per month for September, October, and November with three centimetres of snow thrown in by October.
The average date of the first frost isn’t until Oct. 13. “Frost is not really in the vocabulary for growers in September,” says Phillips.
Normal could be a relief for Essex County farmers, who had monsoonal rains in June — with 200 millimetres, it was more rain than the region has had in 75 years, says Phillips. “Farmers were crying uncle. It was too much.”
The rest of Western Ontario wasn’t spared the rocky start with night-and-day extremes in May and June. A hot and dry May brought early-planted crops on strong only to be set back by a late frost and June rains.
But farmers likely aren’t complaining, says Phillips. From April to August, the London area had close to average heat and rainfall with two per cent more growing-degree days than usual.