If you are sick of the hot temperatures and can’t wait for Fall to arrive, you might have to wait a little longer than normal this year. The CPC has released the latest long range monthly outlooks and the chances are good that above normal temps to continue each month through the end of the year. Anyway, the chance of above normal temps is greater than for below normal temps. One of the keys that might drive warmer temps later this year is El Nino out in the Pacific ocean. An El Nino has not officially formed yet, but it is getting closer. The official forecast calls for a weak El Nino to form during the Fall and early Winter. If an El Nino does form, it is almost a guarantee that we will have warmer than normal temps, on average, this Fall and early Winter. Sure, there will probably be some bouts of colder weather, but the way things are going, I doubt any cool trend would last too long. Fall is my favorite time of year so I almost always enjoy warmer than normal temps during that time of year. Most people would enjoy a mild winter as well, but it would be bad for Winter enthusiasts to have two years in a row with mild temps and little snowfall.
Overall, the CPC outlooks do not put us back into the equal chances for above or below normal temps until the May-June–July period of next year. Of course, by that time the skill of the long range computer models is much less. I would put much more stock in the forecast for next month.
Could we see 90 degrees in October? I doubt it, but given the drought this year in much of the nation, this would be the year it might happen, again. It has only happened one other year in Wausau’s history and that was 1976. If you are old enough, you probably remember a severe drought happened that year as well. It was the record lowest annual precipitation in fact, in Wausau. The high temperature on October first of 1976 was a record 91.
Whether or not we have have some 90 degree temps heading into Fall is highly dependent on the drought situation. Things have improved a bit in southern Wisconsin and southern Minnesota recently, but it is still extremely dry in much of the Midwest and Plains States. Many people have been wondering if this year is the most widespread drought or the hottest temps we have seen in much of the nation. I analyzed the situation in Wausau in this past blog post, and we are on pace to record the warmest July and warmest Summer. We might eclipse the records that were set back in 1936. For the rest of the nation, here is a neat graphic showing the extent of drought conditions during June for the past 116 years. It is natural to focus on the worst years, but I also used the graphic to see the “best” years when it comes to rainfall. It seems 1993, 1983, 1975, and 1907 were the years that had the least drought through June. One other thing I noticed is that the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions of the country seem to have the lowest frequency of drought overall. Keep in mind, this graphic is depicting drought conditions through June. During some of these years, the drought condition turned better or worse during the second half of the year.
Have a swell Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew
This post was written by jloew on July 24, 2012