People who follow the Farmers’ Almanac’s famous long-range weather forecast have estimated that our predictions are about 85% accurate. Not bad for a publication that makes its predictions almost two years in advance! As with anything, sometimes we do better than others. After all, even the best major league hitters don’t bat 1.000. So how are we doing so far this summer? Pretty darn good, thank you for asking.
In the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac, published last September, we predicted this summer would be a scorcher, with hotter than normal temperatures across most areas of the U.S. and Canada through July and August. Only the Pacific Northwest was forecast to have near-normal temperatures. And, so far, that’s exactly how this summer has been panning out, with the mercury creeping up near, or even beyond, 100° F in areas that rarely, if ever, experience such extreme temperatures.
Similar conditions are also being reported throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with sizzling heat gripping even the coolest regions of Europe and Asia. We can’t take credit for that, though. Our predictions only cover North America.
So, why has this year been so hot? This summer, we have been dealing with an unusually strong ridge of high pressure over the plains states, which has been preventing surges of cool/dry Canadian air from penetrating as far south as it might otherwise do in summers without such a strong ridge. As a result, temperatures have been well above normal across much of the central and eastern U.S. It might also be an artifact of El Nino fading out. Last summer, El Nino was intensifying and unseasonably cool air predominated across the northern and central states. Without any more influence from El Nino, this summer has been a much different story.
Whether you’re enjoying the hot weather — especially after last year’s cool, soggy summer in many regions — or praying for fall, expect the heat wave to continue cresting through at least mid-August, when the traditional “dog days of summer” come to an end. After that, the start of autumn should bring more seasonable temperatures and heavy precipitation, cooling things off.