Ontario could see record-breaking heat, rich red foliage as October arrives

FILE - Fall foliage in Quebec. Global News

The calendar may state October on Sunday but it’ll feel more like August in Ontario as a ridge of high pressure is expected to sit over the area, leading to a string of hot days across the province.

Typically, the daily high this time of year ranges between the mid- and high-teens across central and southern Ontario, but the forecast is calling for temperatures ranging from 25 C to 29 C.

“It is going to be hotter in some places than much of August was,” says Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell.

New records could be set all week

Farnell believes several daily high temperature records could fall across Ontario but especially in central and northern Ontario as a full week of high temperatures is expected.

“There is the potential for …Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay, even the Ottawa Valley seeing maybe two or three days in a row of record highs. And then for southern Ontario, the GTA, Windsor, London, (there is) also that potential for records, but it may only be one or two days.”

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While a day in the mid- to high-20s is not unheard of in Ontario during the month of October, it’s not often, not even annually. What’s remarkable about this weather pattern, Farnell says, is the fact that “really, the next seven days are going to be so much above seasonal.”

“It’s the warmest start to October we’ve seen in perhaps a century.”

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Say it isn’t snow!

However, Ontarians can expect a bit of weather whiplash as the temperature is expected to plummet just in time for Thanksgiving.

“Finally, when a front does arrive at the end of the week, it breaks down that big dome, that heat ridge, and we start to see a return to maybe extremes in the other direction or at least more seasonal temperatures.”

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The big drop in temperatures could result in the season’s first hint of snow.

“This is an area — the Nickel Belt, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, even maybe Georgian Bay — that goes from midsummer like conditions with a humidex in the low 30s next week to, possibly by Thanksgiving Monday, having the first trace of snow.”

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Rich reds, bright oranges, delayed frost

The hot, sunny start to October, coupled with cool nights, could leave Ontarians with particularly festive foliage and, in regions where the first frost hasn’t already set in, gardeners will have a bit more time to plan.

“It looks like at least another week or more where where temperatures, even at night, are in the double digits at 10 to 15 degree range. Also, when you have clear skies during the day, warm temperatures and then cooler air at night, it ends up creating very good foliage, very good oranges and reds on those maple trees,” Farnell explained.

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“It’s not an exact science, but typically when you have clear cool nights and sunny warm days, it brings out a lot of the oranges and red. So we’ll see how that holds. I know there are some areas that are in a bit of a drought and that can lead to some of these leaves falling before they reach peak colour.”

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