Sweating in September?
People commonly start thinking fall when September arrives, but summer weather in the 80s forecast through Labor Day weekend shows no signs of cooling down.
If September chalks up these high temperatures, business owners say, it will mean more vacation trips and business from tourists. Compared with the average early September weather, temperatures are predicted to be sizzling this weekend in Jefferson County, according to a seven-day forecast from the National Weather Service. Fridays high is 88 degrees, while Saturday and Sunday should be around 80.
Although most families are getting their children ready for school next week, hot weather on Labor Day weekend is a strong motivator for taking a late summer vacation. And if these midsummer-like temperatures persist this fall, most businesses that rely on tourists will cash in, said Gary S. DeYoung, executive director of the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council.
Septembers long-term weather forecast looks pretty good, and it opens us up for more tourism because were an outdoor recreation area, he said. If its a nice day, people that do have the free time are going to take advantage of it.
Tourism here typically starts to wane in the middle of August, when college students retreat to their campuses, Mr. DeYoung said. It notches up during Labor Day weekend before children return to school, and it stays lukewarm until Columbus Day in early October. Though Mother Nature cant stop children from returning to school, a warm fall could dial up tourism in September to summer levels.
Seasonal cottage owners in the Thousand Islands area, for example, likely will elect to stay longer this fall if it still feels like summer. If a portion of them stay two weeks longer, it could mean a stronger season for businesses near the waterfront.
I think a lot of the people who were in the habit of going back to their homes in Rochester and Syracuse are going to stay longer, Mr. DeYoung said. Every day you can squeeze out of the fall is a big deal for our profitability. It takes us further and further above the break-even line for a lot of these businesses, whether its restaurants or seasonal hotels.
Black River Bay Campground in Dexter, which is located on the waterfront next to Whitewater Challengers, expects to fill a lot more of its 150 campsites during the weekends in September if temperatures continue hovering in the 80s, owner Laura L. Todd said.
Right now I dont have any campsites with hookups left for Labor Day weekend, she said. Were generally busy during the major holidays, but this year the hot weather seems to be extending the season.
The campground already has 30 campsites reserved for the weekend after Labor Day, Mrs. Todd said, when activity usually slows down. But maybe not this season.
Were getting a lot more reservations than we usually do for after Labor Day, and Im optimistic we could sell out the next weekend, she said. A lot of families will go whitewater rafting when its hot, and a lot of our tenting comes from that.
Fishing guides on the St. Lawrence River also are gearing up for a busy Labor Day weekend. Reservations for charter fishing trips at 1000 Islands Fishing Charters have spiked this weekend, owner Allen S. Benas said. He said families who have children preparing for school are more apt to take vacations on Labor Day weekend if its hot.
If there were rain in the forecast for the weekend, I wouldnt have nearly as much business as I have, he said. People who live in cities want to get out when its hot.
Labor Day usually falls behind the Fourth of July as the busiest weekend for the charter service, Mr. Benas said, but it might top that this year tourists react to the temperature.
Warmer weather this fall also would be a boon for the north countrys seven wineries. The wineries open their doors every weekend for hundreds of tourists taking wine tours on the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail. Tours on the trail are offered by Clarence Henry Coach, Watertown, from May through October.
Warm weather will extend the tourism season on the wine trail, said Philip J. Randazzo, owner of Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton and wine trail president. Were expecting to exceed 100,000 people this season, which is likely the second highest for tourist attractions behind Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay.
Mr. Randazzo, who said wineries lure mostly retired people during the fall, predicted higher temperatures in September and October could boost the number of visitors on the trail up to 30 percent.
The heat is also agreeable to event planners at the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, which hosts a farmers market on Washington Street every Wednesday until Oct. 3.
With the nice weather, were expecting numbers weve never seen before during the early fall season, said Kylie S. Peck, director of membership development. Its truly an extension of summer and good for businesses here because were so dependent on tourism.