What's the weather like on PEI?



If you’re considering a move to PEI, you may be wondering about the weather on this small island province off Canada’s east coast. Islands surrounded by large bodies of water can experience some crazy and bizarre weather. Fortunately, Prince Edward Islanders experience “Goldilocks” weather – not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter – although the same ocean breezes enjoyed in the summer months can make the winter feel colder than the thermometer suggests. When storms do come to the Island, things can get exciting quickly, but resilient Islanders are well prepared to take on what comes.



Let’s Talk about the Winter


PEI sees an average on 290 centimeters of snow each year. By comparison, Ottawa, Ontario sees an average of 175 centimetres. The month of December sees the most precipitation which may come in various forms. Not surprisingly, most of the snow falls in January and February, the coldest months on the Island. It is not uncommon for PEI to experience a few more severe winter storms, referred to as “Nor’Easters,” which can result in temporary power outages and, on rare occasions, minor property damage. Although the average mid-winter temperature ranges between -3 to -11 degrees Celsius, which would be considered mild in most other Canadian provinces, when the wind blows it can feel much colder. Islanders, however, embrace the winter, taking advantage of a multitude of winter recreation opportunities, as described in our previous post https://www.waterfrontlivingcanada.ca/post/peiwinterlife.



The Shoulder Seasons


Snow usually sticks around until about the end of March, and being surrounded by cool ocean waters means spring usually starts off with some cooler temperatures. You can expect temperatures to climb through May as the waters and ground warm from the sun. Springtime in PEI can be quite pleasant with temperatures reaching the low 20s Celsius by mid-June when the lupins arrive bringing brilliant colours to the countryside. Fall daytime high temperatures can fluctuate between eight and 22 degrees Celsius. The first snowfall usually occurs between mid-October and mid-November. You can catch the beautiful fall colours contrasting with PEI’s red dirt during late September into October, when farmers collect their crops and turn the soil.



PEI Summers


PEI has enviable weather through the summer months. In Summerside, for example, the average day time high on August 1st is 24 degrees Celsius. It’s rare to see a day peak above 30, but with the changing climate those days are happening more frequently. Nighttime lows average around high teens to low 20s, making it comfortable in the evenings. PEI summers can be hot but rarely humid due to the persistent south/southwesterly breezes off the water. Did you know PEI has the warmest salt waters north of the Carolinas? This is largely attributed to receding tides exposing red sand bars heated by the sun, warming the incoming tides hours later. It is no wonder why so many flock to PEI each summer to walk its famous sand dune beaches and enjoy golf and other recreational opportunities in ideal summer temperatures.



PEI and Bugs


Yes, bugs are a reality in this island paradise, although it is rare to visit any Canadian Province in the spring and summer without coming in contact with mosquitos and black flies. From May until late June you may experience pesky black flies. Mosquitoes arrive in early June and stay active well into August. The shade and forested areas are where mosquitoes thrive in PEI, so repellant is advised if you plan on hikes through the woods.


All in all, PEI has some of the most pleasant weather in Canada, and there’s lot to enjoy during each season of the year. Watch for future posts as we explore PEI’s seasonal festivals and activities.