Newfoundland is a beautiful province with very unpredictable weather! Being an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean causes plenty of rainy, grey, foggy days, even during the warmer summer months. Preparing for all types of weather will ensure you get the most enjoyment from your visit.
Locals seemingly always talk about the weather, largely because there’s plenty of subject matter. A common local saying is “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes” due to it changing so quickly. A warm summer day can quickly turn cold and drizzly.
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While you can enjoy Newfoundland year-round, since most tourism occurs from June-September in the summer, this article will focus on the weather during that time period.
The island of Newfoundland has a maritime climate, meaning summers are usually shorter and cooler.
Although the population of Newfoundland is relatively small, it is quite large by land mass. This means that the weather can vary greatly from region to region at any given time, and each area will have its own unique weather trends.
Generally, coastal areas will experience more wind and fog compared with inland areas. Temperatures are also more likely to reach further extremes inland than in places along the coast.
The island can be viewed as 5 different portions: Western, Central, Avalon, Northern Peninsula, and Burin Peninsula.
As shown on the map, Central is mostly inland, though that term is relative. Even two different areas on the Avalon Peninsula can be more or less inland compared with the other, and the weather can vary accordingly.
Newfoundland has the strongest winds of any province in Canada, with most areas having average annual wind speeds over 20 km/h (12 mph).
Newfoundland receives under 1600 hours of sunshine per year, while the Canadian average is 1925 hours.
Many parts of Newfoundland experience a high number of days with fog, most common in the spring and early summer.
The capital city, St. John’s, located on the Avalon Peninsula, is the foggiest, windiest, wettest, and cloudiest of all major Canadian cities. In fact, St. John’s is the 3rd windiest city in the entire world!
The Grand Banks area of Newfoundland on the Burin Peninsula is noted to be the foggiest place in the world!
How to Pack and Dress
When visiting Newfoundland, you will almost certainly not want to bring exclusively summer clothes such as shorts or dresses. Even the warmest of summer days can cool off dramatically at night, making a change into a sweater and pants necessary.
It’s not uncommon for a spell of rain, drizzle, and fog to appear for days at a time. Yes, it’s possible that even during peak summer season that your Newfoundland visit may be marred by poor weather, despite the gorgeous days shown in our tourism videos!
Planning to visit multiple areas of the island during your trip will increase the likelihood of experiencing good weather. That said, it’s entirely possible you may come for a week and find a heat wave and no wind the entire time. That’s just Newfoundland weather, hard to predict!
It’s still a good idea to check the forecast when planning and before heading out! The Environment Canada website is most reliable, simply choose the major city nearest to where you’ll be. Looking at the radar is also a good way to see if any rain is likely to occur within the very near future.
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The best thing you can do is be prepared. Bring a variety of clothing on your trip. When heading out for the day, no matter the forecast, bring along a sweater or change of clothes, possibly even a light rain jacket. You cannot control the weather, but you can control your actions to help make the best of your long-awaited visit!