But is it really the best summer ever? – Newfoundland & Labrador

“What a summer we’ve been having!”
“This must be the best on record!”
“This is the best summer I can remember”

I’ve been hearing remarks like this a lot lately, and it’s great! We been having a beautiful summer on the Island and we’re obviously loving it. That said, when I’m asked about how great the summer has been, I often remind people of the fact that the summer of 2012 may have been even better. But was it?

Indeed when looking at the past decade, 2012 stands out against the rest for 20 C or warmer days in St. John’s — as was the case across most of the province.

A look at the number of 20c days in St. John’s each year over the past decade. 49 days and counting, through August 23. (Ryan Snoddon/CBC)

The best summer ever?

As the summer of 2012 turned the corner into August and September, many —including me — began referring to it as ‘the best summer ever.’

But what made 2012 so special was the extraordinary length of the warm season. We had a great spring, including the earliest 20 C+ on record at St. John’s Airport, and a nice, warm summer which led into a pleasant fall. 

I looked back through the records and, while the days of 20 C or warmer in St. John’s really added up through July and August, so too did the days with precipitation. Overall, the summer of 2012 was still drier than average, but we had plenty of days where there was a couple of millimetres of precipitation.

Fast forward to this year, where we had a terrible spring with cold temperatures and snow right up to the 24th of May weekend, but the all-important summer switch was flicked in mid-June and we haven’t really looked back.

We’ve had plenty of rain this summer, but 60% of it has fallen in 6 days. (Ryan Snoddon/CBC)

When you look at how the numbers compare from June 21st to August 21st for 2012 versus the past two months, you can see that this summer has been on par for warmth.

While we’ve had near 100 mm more rain over the same time period, 60 per cent of that rain has fallen in only six days!

The rain-free days are clearly what sets this summer — so far — ahead of 2012 in St. John’s. A quick scan of central and western Newfoundland shows a similar story, with more rain free days this summer compared to 2012.

For Labrador, this summer has been similar to 2012 in that there have been plenty of wet days, especially in the West. In fact Wabush has had its rainest August on record! In terms of warmth, 2012 was warmer…

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