It's been a sun-drenched summer in New York

Hilary Smith

In Rochester and the Finger Lakes, it has been a summer for the books.

"The weekends have been fantastic; it seems like it has been sunny and warm every weekend. Probably the worst day of the summer was the Fourth of July," said WHEC-TV (Channel 10) meteorologist Rich Caniglia.

The rain-free weekends yielded Rochester's driest August in 56 years, and the second-driest May to August period in 137 years, though the Finger Lakes saw a few more showers than Rochester, Caniglia said.

"It's getting to the point now that if there isn't any rain soon it could be a real concern," though there have not been reports of wells going dry or other real indicators of drought, he said.

Though the dryness set records, summer temperatures themselves weren't outside of the normal range. Sun was abundant as well — the greater Rochester area received 80 percent of possible sunshine in June, 65 percent in July and 62 percent in August.

July's and August's figures are normal for those months, but June sunshine was way above normal, Caniglia said.

The pleasant weekends were a boost for tourism in the area.

"We've had thousands of requests for information about the area via e-mail and mail requests," said Barbara Walters, the director of membership and visitor services at the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. Nearly 3,000 people came into the chamber to get information this summer, and that number represents just a small portion of people visiting the area, Walters said.

And the good tourist season has boded well for merchants.

"It was a slow start, not as busy in May or June, but things picked up right at the end of June and have been going strong since," said Walters.

As Labor Day is the traditional end to summer, the weather is also set to take a fall-like turn. The area could hit 90 degrees again on Friday and Saturday, but it should cool down into the 70s by Sunday and stay at that temperature into next week, Caniglia said.

"Once you get into the second half of September, it's a pretty rare event to see 90 degrees," he said.

Though the sun-drenched 90-degree days look to be reaching an end, "it's pretty hard to complain about the summer we've had," said Caniglia.

Hilary Smith can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 343, or at

hsmith@mpnewspapers.com.