How was that for a summer to remember?
If blue skies, sunny days, and warm dry weather are what you like, the summer of 2012 was definitely a standout, without question one of the best we've had in Prince George over the past two decades.
Coming on the heels of an unseasonably wet and cool summer last year, when the hottest day reached only 25 C, the past three months have been nothing short of spectacular.
"No doubt about it, it's been quite a run," said Environment Canada spokesman Jim Steele. "Last summer was a write-off. This was a total turnaround."
Fall officially arrives on Saturday, but the warm weather is expected to continue all weekend, with highs in the mid-20s through to Monday.
After the third rainiest June on record, the city finally dried out a couple days into July and other than a bit of soggy weather at the end of August, the days were mostly hot and dry. Since then, there's only been a trace of moisture (5.5 millimetres) in September, well below the normal 34 mm for the first 20 days of the month and nowhere near the average rainfall pace of 55 mm for the whole month.
"It really turned around in July," said Steele. "From mid-July onward it's been not too bad. In September, the overnight lows are right on normal but the daytime highs are three degrees above normal. If this had happened in July the highs would be pushing 30 degrees, but this time of year with the sun angle down and the day length shorter, if we can squeeze out a 25, you can't complain about that at all."
Wednesday's high of 23.1 C came close to the 24.7 C record set in 1999. The warmest day this summer was 30.2 C on Aug. 5. There were three days in the city that reached 30 C or hotter, and 71 days so far that were 20 C or warmer (60 days is the normal).
It should heat up to 24 C or 25 C this weekend, and clouds are expected to roll in on Monday. By the middle of next week, Steele predicts the ridge of high pressure now bringing sun and warmth to the entire province will have weakened and temperatures will fall back to the normal range in the upper teens. The normal high for this time of year for Prince George is 16 C.
"If you have anything this weekend you want to do outside like yardwork, a picnic, a tee-time, then it's perfect weekend for that, but this is it, after this weekend we probably won't see temperatures this warm until next spring," said Steele. "Next week we are looking at more of a fall-like pattern."
The nights have been cool and there have been some patches of frost in the city, but most flower gardens are still thriving. On Sept. 15 and 16 the daily minimum at the Prince George airport dropped to -2.4 C and -2.8 C respectively. It briefly froze overnight as well on Wednesday, dipping to -.0.8.
Some climatologists are predicting an El Nio conditions developing in the fall that will raise the temperature of ocean currents, raising the likelihood of a mild winter. But Steele cautions against reading too much into that.
"To tie a warmer-than-normal winter to El Nio is a likely a mistake," said Steele. "There is some correlation but there's a lot more involved. There are oscillations of the North Pacific and other things that all tie into it and it might not turn out all that well. Right now I'm [predicting] a normal-type winter."