Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/8/2011 (3125 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One thing is for sure: Manitobans will remember the summer of 2011.
Winnipeggers will recall the weeks when hardly any rain fell on their parades. Hot summer days enjoying the great outdoors under a blazing sun stretched into hot summer nights sipping a cool drink on the patio.
Even the mosquitoes buzzed off.
In many other regions of Manitoba, however, the summer of 2011 brought only stressful days. Western Manitoba towns such as Souris, Melita and Wawanesa spent July shoring up sandbag dikes that reached for the sky.
Less fortunate people, such as those in the Interlake, remain stuck in steamy hotel rooms while entire communities are swallowed up by Manitoba's burgeoning lakes.
And Manitoba's farmers? Well, 2011 may be a summer they wish to forget.
But inside the balmy boundaries of the Winnipeg region, summer in the city has been a boon indeed.
"It's been awesome," said Rhea Collison, who manages Corydon Avenue hot spot Bar Italia and its beloved wraparound patio.
"Good weather is absolutely critical to the patio business. If you have a rainy day, you can't get it back."
You can't take back a blazing day either: As late July's heat wave burned itself out, Bar Italia found its patio was empty as people fled for the air-conditioned indoors. "When the heat wave broke, I saw a change in people. They stopped hanging out outside — it was our slowest day of the summer," Collison said.
You win some, you lose some — and at the Kildonan Tennis Club on Valhalla Drive, tennis pro and manager Peter Otto said his business has been scoring big off the blue skies. "I thought all the predictions of a great summer weren't going to come true, then bang, here it is," Otto said.
"The regulars are at the club all the time. The more they play, the more they need their rackets restrung. We're selling a lot of beer and smoothies — it's been boom, boom, boom."
The hot, dry summer means Otto has been on the tennis court from dawn till dusk — with a little siesta in the middle of the afternoons, of course. "I can't coach when it's 39 degrees," he said.
But while Winnipeg sweated through more hot and dry days last month than in any July on record, it wasn't the same story elsewhere in Manitoba.
"A 30-minute drive (west) from my farm in Selkirk and I found a 300-acre farm just north of Elie with standing water," said Doug Chorney, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers. "Standing water in a farm field on Aug. 2... that's unbelievable."
It's hard to believe there is a water problem anywhere when Winnipeggers endured a July that was the equivalent of a giant roasting oven. Environment Canada meteorologist Natalie Hazell said "drought" best described weather conditions in Winnipeg and southeastern Manitoba:
— Average rainfall accumulation for Winnipeg at Richardson International Airport in July is 70.6 millimetres, but last month there were only 10 mm, beating the previous record low of 10.5 mm in 1953.
— The average number of days in July with a temperature at 24 C or higher is 3.7 days, but we just went through a July with 28 days at 24 or higher.
It was even drier in Headingley last month, where only 4.3 mm of rain fell.
"This is a drought," Hazell said in describing weather conditions in the Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba.
He said not all parts of the province have received Winnipeg's weather. Brandon and Dauphin had only slightly less rainfall than the July average for those areas.
Although Winnipeg had more days with a temperature of 24 C or higher, no one day hit a July heat record. Hazell said the city's hottest day last month was July 19, when the thermometer reached 34.4 C. The hottest July day on record was July 12, 1939, when the thermometer reached 37.8 C.
Chorney said farmers across the province suffered from adverse weather — too wet in the southwest, too hot and dry in the southeast.
"This is the worst year in modern agriculture history for Manitoba — bar none," Chorney said.
He said farmers in the southeastern corner of the province enjoyed the initial warm weather in July, but then there was no end to it, effectively cooking the crops in the field.
It's been too hot even for corn, he said, which normally grows well in heat.
Farms elsewhere still have too much water on them, Chorney said,.
"There are farms in the southwest that have no acres planted," he said. "A 3,300-acre farm with nothing planted, a 5,000-acre farm with only 10 per cent of the land planted.
"There's one large farmer in the Interlake who hasn't had a crop in four years now. I would be done farming if I didn't have a crop four years in a row."
He said the best area for farming this year appeared to be around Swan River.
"There's been a nice combination of rain and heat there," and those conditions have resulted in good yields of wheat, barley, oats and canola.
— with files from Melissa Martin and Geoff Kirbyson
Weather in Winnipeg in July
July 2011 — 10 mm
Average July — 70.6 mm
Previous record low — 10.5 mm, 1953
Hottest day in July 2011 — July 19, 34.4
Hottest day in July — 1939, 37.8 on July 12
Average daytime high for July — 25.8
Average daytime high for July 2011 — 28.2
Average nighttime temperature for July — 13.3
Average nighttime temperature for July 2011 — 14.1
The mean temperature for an average day in July — 19.5
The mean temperature for an average day in July 2011 — 21.2
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.