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ON THE 11th HOUR: when the war went quiet
In meteorological circles, autumn is known as the shoulder season – it’s like a buffer between summer and winter. In some parts of the country it can be rather brief: one or two good blasts of arctic air and voila, winter settles in.
In the Maritimes, fall can be as nice as summer and often is. We’re surrounded by very large bodies of water that take a long time to cool down, so we’re often treated to lovely fall days. Some years, this mild weather extends well into November. That might be nice for humans, but what about nature’s natural cycles?
Some years, I recall seeing wild strawberries in bloom along the side of the road on Halloween and I can remember seeing Easter lilies in bloom in the garden on Remembrance Day. Last week, Ruth Boudreau came across a rose blooming near Florence Beach in Cape Breton, N.S.
Uh-oh! Grandma believed that if wild flowers continued to bloom well into the fall, we were in for a snowy winter.
Scientifically, a very warm November that tricks nature into thinking it’s spring is simply an indication that the jet stream has not yet shifted and that we’re still on the warmer side of that influential river of air in the upper levels of the atmosphere. A late shift could result in proximity problems for us; the final resting position could be too close for comfort. The jet stream could easily slip just far enough south to give us colder weather but stay close enough to bring the storms to our region, which means we could be doing lots of shopping.
So, while mayflowers can bring cheer to an otherwise dull November day, they might also bring jeers before long.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.