The final month of “meteorological” summer gets underway Wednesday. Before we get to the forecast for August, let’s quickly review July.
July started hotter than a firecracker. The heat was accompanied by some remarkably dry weather, too. Yards browned up in a hurry.
July was the warmest since 2012 in Youngstown. Nowhere near the top of the record book but significant nonetheless.
We were not alone. Many parts of the US had a warmer-than-average July. Temperature anomalies:
August will get underway with fairly seasonable weather through Friday. After that, we are going to get back into the kind of pattern that produced the hot weather in early July. The first half of August looks quite hot…the second half may feature more frequent cool shots. Overall, odds favor another warmer-than-average month. The highest departures from average should end up being in New England.
While a *WET* month does not seem likely, odds are favoring a month with more frequent rains than July. That, combined with the bouts of wet weather that we had in late July, means that we should avoid widespread drought conditions this summer.
By the way, August has been one of our more benign months in recent years, at least as far as temperatures go. 2016 was the exception; it was the 7th warmest August on record. Otherwise, temperatures have been pretty close to the average (combining highs and lows) of 68.1. In fact, 2017 and 2013 were exactly average.
The hot weather pattern that overtook the region during the month of May has not really let up since. Sure, June was not as warm (compared to the averages) than May but it will still toasty. And July has been a scorcher so far. One of the ways we look at the intensity of summer heat is by tracking the number of days where the temperature hit at least 90 degrees. 90 is kind of arbitrary……yes. We’ve had plenty of days with temperatures in the upper 80s with high humidity. Those days don’t feel that much different than when the temperature is 91.
Anyway, here’s where we stand. The 10 90 degree days are the most since the very hot summer of 2012:
Meteorological summer is a little over halfway over and the temperature numbers are impressive.
This translates into 2018 being the 4th hottest front half of summer in the last 50 years.
What’s been particularly noticeable are the warm nights. The first half of summer featured the 2nd warmest mean nighttime temperatures in the last 50s years. Only 1981 was warmer.
When we look at overnight low temperatures for the entire summer (June-August), you can see a trend in recent years toward warmer nights.
The spring and early summer were pretty wet but the pattern of late has been rather dry. Thunderstorms over the last couple of days have helped. Rain compared to average over the last 30 days:
PATTERN CHANGES AHEAD
I think the dominant pattern that has produced consistent warmth (compared to average) for 2 months now is about to give way to a “less warm” regime. The signal is growing stronger on our medium and long range models. Check out the most recent run of the European model for the next 10 days:
Notice the lack of red and orange over our area. The heat will become centered over the south and west. Cooler-than-average air will visit the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley with higher frequency. I suspect this pattern will be one that also produces more opportunities for wet weather.
How long does it last? I am leaning toward this being a pattern that has some legs….lasting at least a couple of weeks and maybe longer. The LONG range version of the European model goes out 46 days and while it does advertise some hot periods in mid August…overall it has a cool look.
So, there are signs that the worst of summer’s heat is now behind us. There will be hot days to come…..but it’s likely to be with less frequency than we have seen so far.
Next week….our averages start falling. The slide to winter begins!