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30ºC elusive in Toronto as all-time record approaches

Dr. Doug Gillham and Michael Carter

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 4:47 PM - Toronto's Pearson Airport has yet to see a day at or above 30ºC, approaching record-breaking territory.

So far, the hottest temperature of 2015 in Toronto has been 29.4ºC on May 18. While many in western Canada have experienced extreme heat already this summer, there has been a noteworthy lack of hot weather so far in 2015 across much of eastern Canada, including southern Ontario.

Now 30 ºC is an arbitrary threshold, but many consider reaching or exceeding 30ºC to be a key indicator of true summer-like heat. So just how uncommon is it that we’ve made it this far into July without breaking the 30 ºC barrier?

This summer is now assured of at least second place for the latest occurrence of the first day above 30ºC. Previously, 1982 held the no. 2 position when it cracked the plateau on July 6. The latest ever occurrence for the first 30 ºC day was set on August 7, 1996, which was the one and only day to break 30 that year.

The chart below shows the five latest occurrences on record for the first 30 degree day at Pearson Airport, along with the total number of days that reached 30 ºC that year.

On the flip side, the earliest occurrence of the 30ºC benchmark was April 22, 1985. Half of the years on record reached 30ºC by the end of the first week of June and only three years on record failed to reach 30ºC by Canada Day (1993, 1982, and 1996).

On average, Toronto has 18 days per year that reach or exceed 30ºC, but there is quite a large range from year to year. While there was only one day in 1996 that reached 30ºC, 1959 had 43 days that reached 30ºC.

Other noteworthy years with a lack of hot temperatures include 1992 (2 days), 2009 (3 days), and 2014 (7 days).

The lack of hot weather so far during June and early July is consistent with The Weather Network’s Summer 2015 Forecast for the months of June, July and August. However, there is still a lot of summer to go and it is highly unlikely that we go through the summer without reaching 30ºC at least a few times.

During the upcoming weekend, mid-summer temperatures and humidity are expected across much of Ontario with some locations approaching 30ºC. However, currently there are no signs of a long-term pattern change that would allow for a true heat wave with an extended period of 30+ºC weather.

Your say: Are 30ºC days the only sign of summer to you, or do you prefer the moderate temps witnessed so far in the summer of 2015? Please let us know in the comments below.

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