Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer forecast ... several versions

The meteorologists who specialize in long-range forecasts are riding a hot streak.

Most of them correctly predicted winter would start with cold weather and then become more moderate. That's exactly what happened in the East and lower Midwest. We froze from early December until Valentine's Day, and then it warmed up.

And several forecasters correctly saw a battle zone between warm air and colder Canadian systems this spring in the Midwest and East. Sadly, that battle zone developed, in the form of killer tornado outbreaks in eastern North Carolina, the Alabama-Tennessee-Georgia area, and then in Missouri (and Thursday in Massachusetts).

So what's ahead this summer?

I looked at four or five forecasts, and there seems to be general agreement again. A couple points in which there was some consensus:

1. The start of summer will be hot, with temperatures above average. (Someone will probably comment that it's silly to predict hot weather, because it's the South. I'm talking about hotter-than-average).

2. Precipitation in June and July will be about average.

3. Later summer, from mid August through September, could be wetter than average. That reflects the opinion by many meteorologists that tropical storms and hurricanes are more likely to impact the Southeast coast this year than the last two or three years.

The Climate Prediction Center, operated by NOAA, calls for average temperatures and precipitation early this summer, although it has a zone of below-average rainfall not far from the Charlotte region. That might hint at a chance of dry conditions in June and early July for us, but I might be reading too much into the forecast.

Paul Pastelek at Accu-Weather predicts hot and dry early this summer in the Southeast, with increasing thunderstorm activity after mid July. He says this year's hot weather in the Carolinas won't be quite as bad as last summer's.

Another long-range specialist, Dave Tolleris, is calling for a hot and dry June, an average July, and a wet August with average temperatures. He also predicts two main hurricane tracks -- one into the Gulf of Mexico, and the other bringing storms into Florida and then up the eastern United States. That's similar to 2004, when the Carolinas felt the wrath of dying hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Ivan.

We'll see what happens.


Anonymous said...

Last summer was horrible! I can only hope the pattern changes and we get some weather systems moving through this season. It's too hot to do much outside except swim, but then you have to deal with the air quality.

tammy said...

its over 100 degrees already in alabama,i dread this summer

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