The picture of dogs panting or hiding in some shady location is descriptive but has little or nothing to do with the origins of the expression. It dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece and refers to the return in August of Sirius, the Dog Star. The sighting of this star just above the eastern horizon before sunrise is relatively easy. It is the brightest star, after our Sun.
August was often the warmest month in countries next to the Mediterranean Sea. It was speculated that Sirius (from the Greek word Seirios, which means scorcher) added some heat to the Sun’s warmth. Wrong! This star, although blue/white, the colour of intense heat, does not add a measurable amount of heat to our dog days.
Dog Days No Problem in Ontario
My wife Kerstin and I were on holiday at Striker’s Point this past week and it gave me a chance to experience my weather forecast! Sun, temperatures in the high 70s and mainly light winds count as perfect holiday weather for most people. The only surprise was the thunderstorms last Thursday, a day early and severe. The evening timing of hail and strong winds meant that everyone was off the water.
The coming week will feature sun most days with a chance of scattered showers in the late afternoon and evening, today and late in the week. Winds will be generally light and occasionally moderate on some afternoons. Expect cooler temperatures – in the low to mid 70s (22 to 26 C).
Despite the local heavy downpours that came with thunderstorms, overall a fire danger still exists.