In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weather report, August 13th 1789

A Philadelphia newspaper called The Pennsylvania Mercury contained this item from a correspondent in Shelburne in its issue of September 19th 1789:

August 13, 1789
The week past has been the hottest weather experienced here since the settlement of Shelburne. On Tuesday and yesterday the thermometer, hanging in an open passage, in the shade, was up to 85 at three o'clock in the afternoon.

Today the thermometer, hanging in an open passage, in the shade, hovered around 68 at three o'clock in the afternoon. That's about 19 degrees in Canadian.

The Town of Shelburne is hotter than McNutt's Island in the summer. The island's summer is foggier and cooler, moderated by the Atlantic. Shelburne is deep inside the inner harbour; the island is on the outer edge of the outer harbour. I would bet that if The Pennsylvania Mercury's correspondent had been reporting from McNutt's instead of from Shelburne he (or she) would have given a high temperature of somewhere in the seventies that day.

But this summer has been cool and wet both on the island and in town. And there's word in town that Environment Canada is forecasting a string of summers like this one for the region, an effect of the continued melting of polar ice. I haven't been able to find this in writing anywhere; maybe it's an urban legend. It makes sense, though, that huge expanses of ice melting into the northern seas would keep everything cool and foggy for a while.

Those Loyalist settlers of Shelburne were probably delighted with a temperature of 85, and went around town 220 years ago fanning themselves, shirtsleeves rolled up, grinning at their good fortune: a hot spell in August and the hottest day since they'd set foot on this stony land.

Thanks to Harrison Howeth in Delaware, who is magically able to find ancient newspaper items about any topic, and happy to share.

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