It's the first weekend in July and our feelings about the current moist-weather situation are best summed up by the 1970 global smash hit In the Summertime, wherein legendary British band Mungo Jerry sang the following timeless lyrics:
SDLqIn the summertime when the weather is high/You can stretch right up and touch the sky ... Sing along with us, dee-dee dee-dee de/Da doo da-da da, yeah, we're hap-pap-py/Da da da, dee da doo dee da doo da doo da/Da doo da-da da, dee da da dee da da!"
OK, does that musical gem capture the very essence of a Manitoba summer, or what? No? Well, that's not what matters. What matters is things should be a bit warmer and a bit drier this weekend, but first let's take a look back at our sickeningly soggy June.
My good friend Dale Marciski from Environment Canada says, surprisingly, June wasn't colder than normal. "It was spot-on normal," Dale explained Friday. "The mean temperature was 17 C and the normal is 17 C. There were a lot of highs and lows in there, but if you average them out for the 30 days, it was normal."
What isn't a surprise for anyone who owns a sump pump is that June was a tad damper than normal. "We had 147.1 millimetres of rain at the airport," Dale noted. "We had 170.3 mm at The Forks. The normal rainfall for Winnipeg in June is 90 mm... It was the 12th-wettest June since records began in 1873."
It is also not a major surprise that western Manitoba got socked a lot harder than Winnipeg. "Brandon Airport had 251.6 mm in June," Dale pointed out. "The statistics are a bit unclear. It might be their wettest or second-wettest June... That water in western Manitoba is going to flow in our direction, too."
This weekend should be mostly sunny, but Dale cautioned we aren't out of the woods yet. "It's generally a drier weather pattern, certainly warmer through the week... but there could be a few showers or thundershowers here and there," he said. "When you have all that heat and a lot of water on the ground, it's a recipe to set off some showers."
Today's optimistic outlook calls for mostly sunny skies and a pleasantly blistering high of 30 C, compared to the normal high of 26 C. The humidex could be in the high 30s or even 40. On Sunday, a northwest wind will bring us some cooler air, a few clouds and a high of 26 C.
In keeping with our recent moist weather, we suggest you angle your way down to The Forks today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the annual Fish Festival featuring kids' fishing activity stations, fish seminars, fish displays, learn-to-fish clinics, fish-filleting demonstrations, and more fish-related fun, including more than $3,000 worth of fishy prizes. Kind of leaves you reeling, doesn't it?
We also strongly suggest you make tracks for Assiniboine Park where the brand new $90-million Journey to Churchill exhibit has just opened at the zoo. The stunning four-hectare attraction features viewing areas for everything from polar bears and muskoxe to snowy owls and Arctic fox. Coolest of all is the 21.3-metre-long Sea Ice Passage, an acrylic tunnel from which you can see hungry polar bears and seals swimming over your delicious-looking head.
To avoid lineups, zoo visitors are encouraged to buy tickets in advance online at assiniboineparkzoo.ca/tickets. The price of admission ranges from $18.50 for adults to $10 for children ages three to 12.
After checking out our northern wildlife in their state-of-the-art habitat, sidle over to the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Sunday at 3 p.m. to mellow out with some cool jazz vibes with Dr. Dave amid the fresh flowers, flowing fountains, and swinging (in the jazz sense) sculptures.
If you want all that jazz, the annual Sunday Night Smooth Jazz series kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre with Jack Semple.
By the by, it's also not too late to help improve the health of kids in Manitoba by taking part in the eighth annual Steen Classic Golf Tournament in support of the Amadeus Steen Foundation. It's being held Thursday at Glendale Golf & Country Club. Ticket info at amadeussteenfoundation.org or 204-475-4744.
Whatever you do, kids, keep in mind the immortal summertime words of Mungo Jerry: "Da doo da-da da, dee da da dee da da!" That goes double for me, Winnipeg.