This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Secrets of the St. Lawrence

The four seasons - Wind aplenty

The four seasons (PDF; 1.12 MB)

On the St Lawrence, as the weather becomes cooler, it also becomes more threatening.


The summer months are obviously the best time for pleasure boaters and water sports. Just look at the statistics!

There is plenty of wind for sailors, both on the River and in the Gulf. You may even encounter some squalls or gale force winds, but not very often.

The troublesome lows generally pass to the North of the St Lawrence valley. The bad weather they bring affects us less in the summer than at other times of the year.

The other three seasons

As the days shorten, the wind gains strength. From early autumn to late spring, peaking in the winter, the wind speed picks up, reaches its maximum and falls off again as with each passing low.

In fact, the closer one is to the low pressure centre, the more unpleasant the weather is apt to be. Since the St Lawrence is on the winter track of low pressure systems, these months will naturally offer the worst weather.

From mid-autumn onward, lows unleash violent storms in the estuary and the Gulf.

At these times, navigation becomes so dangerous that vessels are sometimes lost with all hands in the Gulf, even though the meteorologists get their weather warnings out as quickly as possible.

The wind, from 0 to 63
0 to 12
13 to 19
20 to 33
Gale force
34 to 47
Storm force
48 to 63

*Monthly averages of hourly data gathered at Pointe Heath, at the Eastern tip of Anticosti, from 1985 to 1989. Table does not include gusts, which may be 20 to 25 % stronger than the winds shown.

The Pointe Heath reporting station is part of the Québec network of Environment Canada.

Date modified: