Sum­mer MIA as July a soaker

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - CARMELA FRAGOMENI

It may seem like July was one of the wettest on record, but that’s far from the case.

“It’s ac­tu­ally sur­pris­ing,” says se­nior cli­ma­tol­o­gist Dave Phillips with En­vi­ron­ment Canada.

The weather sta­tion at John C. Munro Hamil­ton In­ter­na­tional Air­port recorded 111 mm of rain in July, ac­cord­ing to Phillips. The nor­mal is 101 mm, he said.

“It was wet­ter than nor­mal, but close to nor­mal.”

Hamil­ton also had just 11 days with rain, (and three with traces of rain, which are not mea­sured).

“I thought there’d be more wet days …,” said Phillips, “and yet it seems sum­mer has been miss­ing in ac­tion.”

We may feel like we had a lot more rain and rainy days be­cause we had a very wet, late spring, and many cloudy days in July, Phillips says.

Also driv­ing that per­cep­tion is that much of the rain has been on week­ends, July was a lit­tle cooler than nor­mal — no days above 30 C — and there were a lot of fore­casts show­ing clouds, rain, light­ning bolts and se­vere weather that didn’t all come to fruition.

“When it’s not rain­ing, it’s look­ing like rain. … Some­times the statis­tics don’t tell the whole story.”

From April to July this year, we got 475 mm of rain, when the nor­mal is 335 mm; and last year, it was only 166 mm be­cause “it was so bone dry.”

Hamil­ton has had three times the amount of rain it had last year.

“There’s no doubt we have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a wet­ter sum­mer than the pre­vi­ous two sum­mers,” said Gord Costie, a di­rec­tor of ser­vices for Con­ser­va­tion Hamil­ton.

Wild Wa­ter­works, the large out­door wave pool at Con­fed­er­a­tion Park, has taken the big­gest hit from the weather so far, Costie said.

“Wild Wa­ter­works at­ten­dance is down 20,000 visi­tors at this point, so it’s sig­nif­i­cant.”

By con­trast, at­ten­dance num­bers in the sum­mers of 2015 and 2016 broke records, he said.

Use of camp­grounds such as Fifty Point and Valens Lake, the con­ser­va­tion ar­eas and trail is close to what it was last year, he added.

Nick Win­ters, the city’s act­ing di­rec­tor of wa­ter and waste­water op­er­a­tions, says the July rain has had no ef­fect other than to cause two “by­pass events” at the Wood­ward Av­enue waste­water treat­ment plant, in which only par­tially-treated sewage was re­leased — be­cause the rain cre­ated too much vol­ume in the sewer sys­tem.

City parks man­ager Kara Bunn, said park prob­lems from July’s rain are a re­sult of the ground be­ing so sat­u­rated al­ready by all the spring rain we had.

“Nor­mally, when there’s a heavy rain, things would dry out faster. Some lo­ca­tions haven’t dried out as much as hoped.”

The city had to close all play­ing fields twice in July and once in June.

“Prior to that, we had a lengthy clo­sure in May from the 25th to the 31st,” she said.

With ero­sion along trails — again from all the rain in the spring — July’s rain didn’t help, Bunn added. The wa­ter­front trail from Bayfront Park to Princess Point re­mains par­tially un­der wa­ter and closed.


July was great weather if you’re a duck — or a swan. Hamil­ton has had three times the amount of rain it had last year, hurt­ing busi­nesses such as Wild Wa­ter­works, where at­ten­dance is down 20,000 this year.

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