Summer MIA as July a soaker
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.