The weather is always a hot topic in Newfoundland, and in Conception Bay South the temperature is up a few degrees.
St. John’s and the metro area’s weather isn’t always great, but people from Conception Bay South say the difference a 25-minute drive can make is amazing.
Rory O’Leary grew up in C.B.S but has since moved away. He says he has jumped around a bit, living in Mount Pearl, St. John’s and currently Torbay.
“In Mount Pearl, I found where we were so high up, again, we were getting really cold winds no matter where it was coming from,” said O’Leary. “The snow would just drift; it would just pile up.”
The difference between St. John’s and C.B.S. weather can be seen in local forecasts. For example, the Weather Network’s seven-day forecast says that on Wednesday, St. John’s will have 43 km/h winds and feel like -8C. C.B.S., on the other hand, will have 34 km/h winds and feel like -6C.
NTV’s meteorologist Eddie Sheerr says the difference is caused by many factors.
“The reason the weather there is nicer and it’s most pronounced in the spring and early summer is because of the terrain on the Avalon,” said Sheerr.
Sheerr says that as air comes off the Atlantic Ocean into St. John’s it cools and condenses as it is forced to rise, due to the change in elevation. This generally causes cloudy and foggy weather patterns. As air falls, due to a decrease in elevation, the air warms and dries.
“In the middle of the Avalon you have an elevation ridge,” said Sheerr. “You basically get this upslope downslope flow. Where the flow is upslope, you will get the real cruddy weather and where the flow is downslope you will often get warmer, nicer weather.”
Michael Clarke is from Mount Pearl but has worked in C.B.S for the past 10 months. Clarke says that even though the difference in temperature was small at times, it was always noticeable on his way to work.
“It wasn’t just one day – probably a full week where I would be leaving from Mount Pearl where it would be rainy and foggy, very gloomy,” Clarke said. “Then driving into C.B.S, when you can just notice the weather get slightly better and better, until you look and say, ‘Oh, wow, it’s sunshine out this way.”
The drive into C.B.S. is when you notice the difference every time, says O’Leary.
“It’s Fowler’s Road,” said O’Leary. “The second you pass Fowler’s Road going into C.B.S., that snow will drift into hail and then rain all within just a matter of one kilometre.”
Sheerr says, C.B.S is an example of a microclimate. These are places that have different weather patterns than the surrounding area due to the terrain, wind direction and other factors. These microclimates make it difficult for Sheerr to forecast large areas. If the forecast were only for the Avalon, Sheerr says, he could go into more detail about the microclimates, but due to the airtime available to him, the size of the province and other factors he can’t.
“In Newfoundland and Labrador, unfortunately, there are places that I’m not going to get the forecast correct . . . because of the microclimates,” said Sheerr. “That’s just a pill I have to swallow every time we have weather coming in.”
C.B.S. weather isn’t perfect, though, says O’Leary. He lived next to the ocean and says that the northeast winds could get very cold some days. However, O’Leary says, it is still the best weather he has seen in the Avalon.
“I have always referred to C.B.S as God’s country,” said O’Leary. “You’re leaving St. John’s and it’s sunny in C.B.S. You’re leaving St. John’s cloudy and you just see rays of sun break down. Looks like God’s country.”