Weather

No big heat for New England, but no so in eastern Europe

For me this has been one of the best summers I can remember. The lack of an official heat wave in Boston and Portland has meant cooling relief from any heat and humidity has only been a couple of days away all season.

While the next week looks seasonably warm during the day, our nights will be comfortably cool and great for sleeping. This weather is also saving energy. Even an office building’s HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep you cool in this pattern.

My mind is already nervous about next summer because this type of summer won’t become routine any more than will the type of winter we had several years ago when it didn’t snow more than 10 inches in Boston. Remember back then when we had 60F degree readings in January.

In other parts of the world this has been a brutal summer of heat and humidity. We don’t often hear about what’s going on outside of our own region unless it becomes catastrophic, but there has been big heat this summer, it’s just not here.

Ventspils, Latvia recorded it’s first 100F degree reading on record a few days ago and while the weather has now cooled. It’s worth noting that milestone.

According to climate historian Chris Burt’s blog on Weather Underground,

“The record was especially unusual since Ventspils (also known as Ventspili) is a coastal location situated right along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The previous Latvian record of 36.4°C (97.5°F) on August 4, 1943 (same date!) was measured at Daugavpils which is an inland location near the border of Belarus and where hotter temperatures might be expected vis-à-vis a coastal location. The reason for the excessive temperature at Ventspils, this time around, was a strong offshore flow caused by a high-pressure system centered over northeast Russia and Finland.”

Ventspils isn’t unlike Boston in that it is a coastal city and is typically cooled by the water in the summer and kept milder than the inland areas in the winter. My grandfather was born in Minsk in Belarus, another city with 4 distinct seasons. On Sunday, they saw a record high of 96F which was a degree above the record. In Poland the temperatures made it into the mid 90s as well. Many cities in this region saw heat that many have not been a record, but was certainly exceptional.

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Why no heat waves?
The main reason for the lack of prolonged heat is the continued reconfiguration of the jet stream to a strong trough and ridge pattern which has continually allowed cooler air to infiltrate the country. This summer’s jet stream has repeatedly returned to a similar flow to the winter. This is why it’s been so cool in the Midwest, similar to the winter.

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While it was a cold winter here in the east, it wasn’t nearly as cold as the Midwest. That part of the United States has been consistently cool, while we have seen at least a few days of heat between the periods of cool and dry air. The flow next week continues the pattern. It looks cool and dry in the Midwest, while we have another shot at some heat and humidity. However, it doesn’t appear it will last very long.

I’ll be updating the forecast @growingwisdom on Twitter.

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