Nova Scotia, map

Index


Introduction



Nova Scotia's climate is slightly continental, characterized by very cold, snowy winters and pleasantly warm, quite rainy summers.
Nova Scotia is a maritime province of south-eastern Canada, extended from parallel 43 to parallel 47 north, and is formed by the peninsula of the same name, which is stretched from the continent, and the island of Cape Breton, which is very close to the same peninsula. Then there are several smaller islands.
We are in an area characterized by the continuous clash of air masses, which makes the climate unstable, windy and rainy (and snowy in winter). Furthermore, fogs are frequent along the coasts, especially the southern one, due to the infiltration of damp air coming from the south (in fact, the Gulf Stream flows not far away).
Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year, and ranges from 1,100 millimeters (43.5 inches) per year on the north coast, to 1,500 mm (59 in) on the south coast, to 2,000 mm (78 in) in the north of Cape Breton island.
Snowfall is abundant: generally, 1 and a half meters (59 in) of snow fall per year on the southern coast, 2 and a half meters (98 in) on the northern one, and up to 4 meters (157 in) in the north of Cape Breton island (see Ingonish). Usually it snows from late November to early April. In winter, snow storms can occur, called "nor'easters" because they are brought by strong winds from the north-east.
In winter, on colder days, the temperature drops to -15 °C (5 °F) even on the coasts, and in colder winters, it can reach lower values. In 1994, the temperature dropped to -29 °C (-20 °F) in Amherst, to -27 °C (-16.5 °F) in Sydney and Halifax, and to -21 °C (-6 °F) in Yarmouth.
In the north, the Northumberland Strait, more closed and exposed to cold sea currents, can freeze in winter.
Since Nova Scotia is exposed to cold currents from the north as well as mild currents from the south, the winter is not always freezing, but is characterized by variations in temperature. So, in winter, in addition to snow, rain can fall, and the temperature can exceed freezing, and can sometimes go up to 10 °C (50 °F).
In summer, temperatures are generally pleasant. Hot days, with highs around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F), are rare.
From July to October, Nova Scotia can be reached from time to time by hurricanes of the Atlantic, which bend towards the north-east after affecting the Caribbean. They are generally weak by the time they reach Nova Scotia because they have to cross a cold sea, however they can still bring abundant rainfall and strong wind. The strongest hurricanes were Ginny in October 1963 and Juan in September 2003.
Nova Scotia is a fairly flat province, although in the interior there are hills, called Highlands, whose highest point is White Hill, 538 meters (1,765 ft) high, located in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, on Cape Breton island. Warm, fohn-like winds can descend from these hills on the west coast of the island (see Chéticamp, Grand Étang).
In the north-west, in the bay of Fundy, there are the highest tides in the world, around 12 meters (40 ft). From mid-July to early September, whales can be observed in the same bay.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Sydney

Sydney is located in the north, on the northeastern coast of Cape Breton island.
The average temperature of the coldest month (February) is of -5.9 °C (21 °F), that of the warmest month (August) is of 18 °C (64 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Sydney - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-10-10-7-2381313940-5
Max (°C)-1-22713192323191372
Min (°F)141419283746555548393223
Max (°F)302836455566737366554536

Precipitation amounts to 1,515 millimeters (59.6 inches) per year. On average, 283 cm (111 in) of snow fall per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Sydney - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)15513013013510595901001201451551651515
Prec.(in)6.15.15.15.34.13.73.53.94.75.76.16.559.6
Days211617161414121314161821191

On average, there are around 1,815 sunshine hours per year. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Sydney - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours344567876432

In the northern part, the sea, shallow and closer to Labrador, where a cold current flows, is very cold in winter, but warms up more in summer. In Sydney, the sea temperature ranges between 0 °C (32 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F). So, it never becomes warm for swimming. Here are the average sea temperatures.
Sydney - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)1001491418161273
Temp (°F)343232343948576461544537

Amherst

Amherst is located in the north of the peninsula, near the coast (Chignecto bay, which freezes in winter), and on the border with New Brunswick.
The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is of -7.7 °C (18 °F), that of the warmest month (July) is of 18.5 °C (65 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Amherst - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-13-12-7-159131294-1-8
Max (°C)-3-12916212424201371
Min (°F)91019304148555448393018
Max (°F)273036486170757568554534

Precipitation amounts to 1,155 millimeters (45.5 inches) per year. On average, 254 cm (100 in) of snow fall per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Amherst - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)10585105901008590751001051101051155
Prec.(in)4.13.34.13.53.93.33.533.94.14.34.145.5
Days141213131514131212141514161

On average, there are around 1,775 sunshine hours per year. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Amherst - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours344567775433

Halifax

Halifax, the capital, is located on the Atlantic coast.
The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is of -4.2 °C (25 °F), that of the warmest month (August) is of 19.3 °C (67 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Halifax - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-8-8-4161114151262-4
Max (°C)004914202323191383
Min (°F)181825344352575954433625
Max (°F)323239485768737366554637

Precipitation amounts to 1,450 millimeters (57.1 inches) per year. On average, 154 cm (60.7 in) of snow fall per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Halifax - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)150115135120110100100951051301451551450
Prec.(in)5.94.55.34.74.33.93.93.74.15.15.76.157.1
Days191516151413121011121518171

On average, there are around 1,960 sunshine hours per year. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Halifax - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours455567876543

The sea temperature ranges between 0 °C (32 °F) and 17 °C (63 °F). So, here too, the sea never becomes warm for swimming. Here are the average sea temperatures.
Halifax - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)2002591417161395
Temp (°F)363232364148576361554841

Yarmouth

Yarmouth is located in the southwest, on the coast of the Gulf of Maine, in the mildest but also foggiest area of the province.
The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is of -3.1 °C (27 °F), that of the warmest month (August) is of 17 °C (63 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Yarmouth - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-7-6-3161013131062-4
Max (°C)114914182121181394
Min (°F)192127344350555550433625
Max (°F)343439485764707064554839

Precipitation amounts to 1,295 millimeters (51 inches) per year. In a year, 207 cm (81.5 in) of snow fall. Here is the average precipitation.
Yarmouth - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)125100115100100959085951151401301295
Prec.(in)4.93.94.53.93.93.73.53.33.74.55.55.151
Days201615131412111010121519166

On average, there are around 1,900 sunshine hours per year. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Yarmouth - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours245677776532

On the southwest coast, the sea is a bit less cold in winter, while in summer it remains cold, not exceeding 15 °C (59 °F). Here are the average sea temperatures.
Yarmouth - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)533461013151412107
Temp (°F)413737394350555957545045

when to go


The best time to visit Nova Scotia is from June to September, as it is the mildest of the year. July and August are the warmest months.

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