HYANNIS — A warm and mostly dry summer on Cape Cod led to a strong year for local businesses, but rain looms as Labor Day weekend brings about the season’s unofficial end.
Kim Buttrick, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said this afternoon that a storm is expected to head toward the East Coast tonight.
“The best chance for precipitation today is over the interior — Western Mass., Central Mass. — and then it’ll start marching east after midnight tonight,” she said.
The anticipated showers would bring a rare spot of rain during a summer that was mostly dry on the Cape, except for July Fourth weekend, when Hurricane Arthur brought storms to the East Coast, said Wendy Northcross, chief executive of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
“The weather has been phenomenally good, just what you want with a beach destination,” she said. “Warm enough to go to the beach but ... not too hot.”
The cool waters of the Atlantic lured Dr. Kevin Collins, an emergency room physician from Albany, N.Y., who was staying at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis.
“I used to come here as a kid, and I had a lot of great memories of coming here with friends and family,” he said today. “The call of the ocean was pulling me, and it was finally time to come.”
Chuck Donnelly, general manager of the 260-room Cape Codder, said it had been “an excellent summer,” with occupancy at 85 percent for August.
“Weekends have been strong right through the summer, and August has really exceeded our expectations, which has been nice,” Donnelly said.
He said the Cape Codder is family-oriented and offers entertainments that appeal to all ages.
“We have reptile shows, nightly movies, a balloon man who walks around doing balloon sculptures for kids; we have an indoor wave pool that’s really popular with families,” he said. “We have a lot that people can do here at the hotel, and I think that works for our price point.”
Matthew Belk, another National Weather Service meteorologist, said that across Eastern New England this summer, average temperatures have been within one degree of the 30-year averages, but lows had not been particularly low nor highs especially high.
In Boston, the mercury struck 90 only four times, Belk said.
Northcross said the absence of extremely hot days that make people want to flee the city had been “probably the only missing element” in an otherwise great year for Cape businesses.
“When that happens, you see people just literally bail,” Northcross said.
Hotel occupancy was up 4.5 percent over last year in June, then slackened slightly in July, but appears poised to even out in August, Northcross said. Also, she said, people came in droves to special events celebrating the centennial of the Cape Cod Canal and the 375th anniversaries of Barnstable, Sandwich, and Yarmouth.
The Fourth of July rain dampened some planned celebrations and pushed back fireworks displays, she said, but it had little economic impact.
“The prediction couldn’t have been at a worst time, in terms of one of our peak holiday weekends, but it really did not seem to deter people,” Northcross said. “The hardest thing was that some fireworks did get cancelled or moved, but in the end that worked out because it gave people more to do.”
Barnstable’s fireworks display planned for the Fourth of July was delayed until last night, when it was incorporated into the town’s anniversary celebration, she said. It was the kind of event that summer visitors love, she said.
“People like to get down to the beach, bring the cooler, just to hang out,” Northcross said. “We thought about going ourselves last night, and I said, ‘Oh, it’s going to be mobbed.’”Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.