Is It A Cool Summer?

By WBZ-TV Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher
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(Photo credit CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Eric Fisher Eric Fisher
Eric Fisher is Chief Meteorologist for CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV News and...
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BOSTON (CBS) – I keep receiving questions about how come we’ve had a cool summer in recent weeks, and the answer is we haven’t!

highs Is It A Cool Summer?

Sunday’s observed high temperatures…more like late September!

We’ve actually had an ‘average’ summer, which now feels cool considering how many hot summers have scorched the U.S. in recent years. It’s interesting to see this reaction…similar to how people felt after our winter. Was it that bad? Not really. I wrote a blog going through the reasoning why it was not (which was subsequently torn apart by angry, cold New Englanders). But the bottom line is that while MARCH was awful, most of the winter was pretty typical around here. Snowfall a little above average, a little colder than average, but nothing too noteworthy until the last few days of February and then March (which is technically spring so far as weather records are concerned). But after so many ‘easy’ winters that were not typical…it felt horrible to a lot of folks.

sincejune Is It A Cool Summer?

This is a look at temperature departures from average June 1st through Sunday. You can spot the well below average temps that have been consistent in the middle of the country, the heat that’s continued to burn up the west, and for us? Ho-hum average in New England. Source: WeatherBell

Now here in summer, average temperatures don’t feel right (June and July both ran slightly above average in both Worcester and Boston – official climate sites). We’re used to melting from time to time. This year? Delightful! We’ve had some cool days for sure (this weekend one heck of an example…it felt like October out there). We’ve also had some warm stretches. But what has been very notable has been the lack of the big heat. Normally, you’re going to get a stretch or two that are just brutal. But we’ve had none of that this summer. Only 4 days reaching 90º in Boston (the average for a year is 14). There hasn’t been a single heat wave (the closest we got was July 1st through 3rd – 89, 91, and 91 respectively). There have also been an unusually large number of dry air outbreaks…keeping long stretches of humidity at bay. So even when we’ve had a hot or humid day…it’s only lasted for one or two days. Not enough for hot weather fatigue or any serious issues. So my guess is that’s why so many have felt it’s been a summer without the sizzle.

Now the clock is ticking. Will summer heat make a comeback? It’s not looking very likely. In August, our average high drops from 82 to 77º. We also start to lose daylight and the sun angle continues to decrease (we’ll  lose 1hr, 15 minutes of daylight through the course of the month). And while August always seems to have a reputation of being the hottest month of the year, it usually is not (July wins that crown). It tends to be a pretty dull month unless the tropics decide to pay us a visit (Bertha out to sea this week, phew).

gfsens Is It A Cool Summer?

GFS Ensemble 500mb heights 12 days out show the same old pattern continuing across North America. Source: WSI Energycast

The overall pattern remains stuck in a rut. A huge ridge in the west, a persistent trough in the east. There are few signs that this will let up significantly in the days to come. Above is the GFS ensemble mean 500mb heights….12 days out! Still no change. Yes there will be little fluctuations here and there, but with this persistence it’s extremely unlikely we’ll have any sustained big heat in the next couple of weeks. Once you get to mid-August, your days are getting numbered.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of upper 70s to mid 80s in that time! It’s not like we’ll be freezing our butts off. In fact, those are pretty much average temps for that time of year (again, we hit on the idea that average now appears cool). But if you’re one of those people who love a good heat wave, rejoice at seeing a stretch of 90s on the 7-Day, or for some reason like showering 3 times a day – you may be out of luck.

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