A record-setting month

No need to call out the army, or even a single soldier. This weather record celebrates the complete absence of snow.
Published : December 01, 2009

No need to call out the army, or even a single soldier. This weather record celebrates the complete absence of snow.

Midnight Monday marked the first time in Toronto in more than 160 years we have enjoyed snow-free skies before December.

“The fact you wouldn’t get a flake of snow is certainly quite something,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

According to Phillips, Environment Canada’s downtown weather monitoring station has never documented a snow-free October and November since it began operating in 1847.

“It is an exotic kind of record,” said Phillips. “It is not going to stop you in your tracks, but when you take a look at it, it is quite significant.”

There was a wee chance that a smidgen of snow could bring all this record chatter to a screeching halt.

Yesterday’s high was about 5 C, but temperatures were expected to drop overnight with a 40 per cent chance of wet flurries.

For weeks the whisper of this small but significant record has been in the air.

During some previous Novembers, no measurable amount of snow was recorded, but there were at least traces — a few flakes falling from the sky. If there was something to record, it made it into the books.

In November 1963, for example, Environment Canada recorded a scant half-centimetre of snow. Last year, the weather gods dropped about 13 centimetres of snow on our fair city in November.

The lack of white stuff isn’t the only weather fact to set last month apart from previous years.

Phillips said that other than the lack of snow, this November has been warmer, drier and has had about 30 per cent more sunshine than ones in the past.

Temperatures have been about three degrees above the seasonal average and we have had about 45 per cent of normal precipitation, he said.

Those facts, plus the lack of smog, means November was “the best month ever,” he said.

The numbers were recorded at the oldest weather station in Canada, currently located at the University of Toronto campus.

Phillips said we shouldn’t let the lack of flakes lull us into a feeling of false calm.

On average, the precipitation that drops in October and November only accounts for about seven per cent of the total every year, said Phillips.

 
 
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