After a record-setting spring and summer, Mother Nature decided to make it a hat trick yesterday.

With the temperature reaching as high as 33 in Toronto, not only did the city have the warmest Sept. 25 on record (the old standard, in 1958, was 28.3), it was the highest temperature for any fall day dating back to the beginning of record keeping in 1840.

The previous record for an autumn day was in 1891, when the mercury rose to 31.1. The average high for this time of year is a modest 19.

"This is a red-letter day. Thirty-three is something that would be considered a hot day in the dog days of summer," said Environment Canada senior meteorologist David Phillips.

Temperatures are expected to drop significantly, with showers predicted over the next couple of days. The forecast calls for Friday and Saturday to be sunny, with highs of 21.

But the heat was only part of the news. The other part of the equation is that this year has been the driest on record.

From Jan. 1 to yesterday, the city would normally see an average of 640 millimetres of rain.

This year, there has been about 369 millimetres.

Before now, the driest year was in 1933, when there was only 401 millimetres of rain by this time of the year.

"We've got an invisible disaster going on," Mr. Phillips said, adding that the ground in some parts of the region has become so dry that it isn't able to absorb water any more, and that young trees may not make it to spring. "The best thing we could get right now would be a monsoon for a week and a half to restore water levels to normal."