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Is April really the wettest month?


Many Canadians have warmer temperatures on their minds, along with April showers (courtesy: Janet Herman)
Many Canadians have warmer temperatures on their minds, along with April showers (courtesy: Janet Herman)

Nicole Karkic, Weather Broadcaster, The Weather Network

April 9, 2013 — Do April showers really bring may flowers?

Toronto received an average of 69.6 mm of rain in April
Toronto received an average of 69.6 mm of rain in April

It may not feel like it, given the potential for ice pellets in southern Ontario and a recent snow storm in western Canada, but spring has arrived.

Many Canadians are dreaming of warmer weather, and the inevitable "April showers" that go along with it.

But where did the popular phrase, "April showers bring May flowers" originate? and does the month of April really deserve its soggy reputation?

Most sources trace this phrase back to the mid-1500s. In 1557, a gentleman named Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.

In the April husbandry section he wrote:

"Sweet April showers ?do spring May flowers".

Depending on the type of flowers you have growing in your garden, this short poem is absolutely true, but April isn't, on average, as rainy as people often believe.

Let's take a look at the climate averages of a few major Canadian cities to see how it stacks up.

Vancouver International Airport reports an average of 84 mm of April rain on average. While that may sound like a hefty amount, the area reports 114.3 mm in March, and October averages 112.6 mm.

Toronto receives an average of 69.6 mm of rain in April and 83.4 mm of rain in August.

In Halifax, Stanfield International Airport gets an average of 118.3 mm of rain in April, but October can see up to 128.7 mm.

These few examples reveal that while April is rainy, it isn't always the wettest month of the year.

Numbers aside, the popular phrase has been used to remind people that after months of dark, stormy days there is a bounty of May flowers to look forward to.

Patience is a virtue that is truly tested this time of year in Canada.

But warmer weather will get here eventually -- along with beautiful flowers and the occasional rain shower.

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