Hurricane Maria raises temperatures in Toronto

It may well be autumn across North America, but some parts are having their hottest weather of the year so far.

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    After a prolonged period of devastating weather across parts of the Americas, some areas are now enjoying a welcome spell of warm and settled summer-like conditions. Hot weather has set in across much of the eastern United States and the southeast of Canada.

    The reason for this change is due to a large area of high pressure over the upper Appalachians and the entrainment of warm tropical air drawn into the flow from Hurricane Maria.

    Hurricane Maria is currently located around 350km off the coast of North Carolina. It is now a Category 1 storm, and is expected to weaken further over the next 24 hours and will be downgraded to a tropical storm in the early hours of Wednesday morning GMT.

    A tropical storm warning is still in effect along the North Carolina and Virginia border. However, Maria will take its large waves and heavy seas away from the coast and out into the open waters of the Atlantic over the next few days.

    The aforementioned area of high pressure brings good news in three ways. The first is that it is steering Hurricane Maria away from the Eastern Seaboard of the US. The second is that it is helping to take power out of the winds. The third is that it is bringing warmth across that eastern side of North America.

    That warmth has seen southeastern Canada warm up nicely after a relatively cool few months. Toronto has just had 14 days in a row where the temperature has exceeded 25 Celsius.

    Sunday was the warmest day of the year so far with a top temperature of 33.3C. This is also a new record for September, beating the previous high of 30.6C set in 1959.

    Ironically, Friday 22 September was the autumn equinox, and coincidentally, heat warnings have been in effect for Toronto since then. Temperatures should be around 21C at this time of year. We should see temperatures ease over the next few days.

    In fact, it will feel noticeably fresher by the weekend with temperatures nearer 16C on Saturday. At least it will still be bright and sunny and should stay that way well into next week as temperatures nudge back up towards the seasonal average.

    The unseasonably warm weather has also been felt across the eastern third of the US. New York has had temperatures up around the low 30s over the past few days.

    Further west, it was hot enough in Columbus, Ohio for schools to close. Around 40 of the school buildings there do not have airconditioning, so a decision was made to cancel classes on Monday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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