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Weather Wisdom

Super weather this weekend, but what about the summer?

Patterns in the weather are certainly noticeable by those of us who are in this business, but also by many of you who have a love of meteorology or just a simple awareness of the seasonal fluctuations in the weather.

The next several days will bring a stunning weather pattern which will take us into the weekend. Cooling sea breezes along the coast and strong June sunshine will make this an ideal time to enjoy summer in New England and just in time for the summer vacation from school.


Iíll be updating the forecast @growingwisdom on Twitter.


Predicting what type of summer we are going to have is in some ways more difficult than the winter. Summer patterns are typically less defined and the fluctuations are not as dramatic. Even in a cooler than average summer, itís still going to be warm. Itís really the hotter than average summers we tend to remember or those that are significantly wetter or drier than others. Meteorological summer is 12 weeks running June 1st to August 31st. (Some say the 5th of June to September 5th). So we are now about one-quarter of the way through the warmest period of the year without a 90 degree day.

Itís not terribly remarkable we havenít hit 90F yet, but it is later than average and starts to play into a potential pattern of not an extreme summer of prolonged heat. Last July we had a very hot month, it averaged just less than 4 degrees above normal and we had a dozen days above 90F. Reaching the nineties so many times was nearly 8 days greater than a typical July.

July 2013 was on the heels of June, another warm month with 4 days in the 90s, double the average. This month we are running almost spot on normal in terms of temperature and precipitation and the longer range models are indicating a summer where prolonged heat and humidity are likely not as intense as last year, especially July.

I believe that unlike the first 2/3rds of last summer, we are going to see more frequent breaks in the heat in the humidity rather than protracted heat. Again, this doesnít mean we donít have a heat wave or two, I just donít see this being a blockbuster hot summer.

The map below shows the current prediction for temperature departure from normal for July. The blue represents areas forecast to be cooler than normal and the orange warmer. Notice how the warmer swath runs along the Atlantic coast, likely a result of the Atlantic itself being warmer than normal especially off our coastline.

July 2014.png

Many other forecasters have been predicting a cooler than average summer for the upper Midwest, especially in the areas which saw the cold winter. Since we will be on the eastern edge of this cool air, this is another reason for my thinking about the more regular breaks in the heat.

Remember, although we might be cooler than average, it doesnít mean itís going to be cool. Itís summer and even if we ended up a degree or two below normal for any given week, it can still be great weather. This map show the predicted temperature departure from normal from this weekend in next week. While we are going to be cooler than average, the weather will be nearly ideal.

June 21 to 26.png

The final map shows how much above or below average water temperatures are in the Pacific and Atlantic. You can see the waters from the Caribbean to off our coastline are quite warm. This certainly plays into the summer forecast and also can mean if a hurricane did develop later this summer it would have warm waters to work with.

ocean anomoly.gif

In many ways the pattern of ocean temperatures we are seeing today are very similar to those of the 1950s. The folks at Weatherbell Analytics who consistently review analog patterns have been pointing out the similarities between now and the 1950s for a few years. During this period, it was much more common for hurricanes to hit New England and the odds of a major hurricane hitting our coastline are climatologically high. This bears more discussion in an upcoming blog.

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