”Summer gone?” I jokingly responded, “not until September 22.”
September 22nd is the day when summer officially ends and autumn begins. Of course, I knew what my friend was asking. He wanted to know if any more hot stretches of weather were in the distant future because his wallet was hurting. I don’t blame him, because I am in the same boat. I almost called the electric company to ask if the decimal point was in the wrong place!
Thankfully, I’m proud to report our chances of prolonged heat are waning. While a short stretch of 90 degree days cannot be ruled out, we will not witness another long period of hot weather this season comparable to the stretch from June 27 to August 3rd. First, the heat stretch was impressive by itself. We completed July 2012 with a mean temperature of 71.6°, good enough for #2 on the list of warmest Julys in Eau Claire since 1950. Second, based on climate averages, we have passed our warmest point of the year. Typically, the second and third weeks of July are the warmest with an average high of 83° and an average low of 61°. With daylight slowly slipping away from us, the odds are not in our favor.
Many are wondering what is around the corner. In short, when considering the overall trend, we will likely remain near or above average into the winter season. Meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) are watching the central Pacific closely. There is a chance another El Niño event will develop in the coming months. During an El Niño event, warmer Pacific waters off of South America can modify the upper air pattern in favor of mild weather for the Midwest. We could also experience drier conditions.
The El Niño talk does come with a literal word of caution: osscilation, as in ocean oscillation. Last winter was a La Niña winter, which typically brings cooler weather to the Midwest. But as you know, last winter was quite mild in the area! That’s because the North Atlantic Osscilation (NAO) was in a strongly positive phase. The NAO, combined with other factors, turned the tables on La Niña and our weather pattern in western Wisconsin. Thus, ocean osscilations must be taken into consideration.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more from Beyond the Forecast…
This post was written by Nick Grunseth on August 6, 2012