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Reality Check: 2011 Summer Forecast

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Reality Check: 2011 Summer Forecast

Here we are, at the tail end of July, now well in the thick of the famed Dog Days of Summer. Now seems as good a time as any to check in with our summer forecast, and see how our predictions are squaring with reality. So here’s a look at what we said the weather would be in the various regions, and what Mother Nature has done so far:

Northeastern States — In New England, we predicted that conditions would be “hot and very wet.” We got the hot part of the equation right, and the earlier part of this summer was very wet, raising rivers and lakes to very high levels. As the summer has gone on, precipitation has leveled out closer to normal levels. In the Mid-Atlantic States, we said it would be “hot and wet.” These states have been prey to the heat wave that has taken hold across much of the nation. Precipitation was normal through June, but has been below average since the beginning of July. Given that, our predictions were right-on for New England and correct in terms of heat for the Mid-Atlantic, but off in terms of precipitation.

Southeastern States — We said the Southeastern seaboard would be “hot and wet.” As with their neighbors to the north, temperatures have been hot, though rainfall has been somewhat below average. In Florida, there has been a hint of the drought conditions that have taken hold farther to the west, though not to the same degree. Again, we called the temperatures correctly, but were slightly off on the precipitation.

Great Lakes and Midwest — We said these states would be “very warm with average rainfall,” and this was spot-on. Temperatures in these states have been hotter than normal, though not as hot as states farther to the south, while precipitation levels have been about average.

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South Central — We said the area including Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma would be “hot with average rainfall.” Again, our prediction for extreme heat proved to be correct, but we were wrong in our prediction of “average precipitation.” These states have been enduring the worst drought in a generation for most of the summer, with crops shriveling in the fields.

Southwestern States — For Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, we predicted “nice temps and very wet.” This region is typically very hot and dry, and this summer has been no different. Temperatures in this area have fallen slightly below average in these states, though the precipitation we predicted did not come through. These states have not been hit as hard as Texas or Oklahoma, but their precipitation levels are a far cry from the “very wet” conditions we forecast. In California, we predicted “nice temps and average rainfall,” and that was correct. After several dry years, the Golden Sate has finally caught a break this summer with a season of temperate, pleasant weather.

Pacific Northwest — We said Washington, Oregon, and Idaho would be “cool with average rainfall,” and that was correct. As the rest of the nation tries not to melt, our readers in the Northwest have been writing to ask if we could send some of this heat their way. Normally a very temperate region with comfortable summers, these states have been downright chilly this year.

Overall, our temperature predictions have been pretty accurate. We foresaw the heat wave that has taken hold this summer, and predicted that the West Coast would escape the worst of it. However, our forecast has been off, so far, when it comes to precipitation. Conditions across much of the country have been drier than predicted. Regions we said would be “very wet” have been close to average, those we thought would be “wet” are seeing slightly below average amounts of precipitation, while those we said would be average are experiencing drought conditions.

However, we would like to remind everyone that there are still almost two months left of summer, so the rain may still fall.

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1 kim's cat { 08.22.11 at 2:13 pm }

Here in southeastern New Mexico it rained twice for a total of about 20 minutes. Both times I got out and danced in it. Two months of three digit temperatures. What happened to our Monsoon Season??? Record low temps. last winter killed our Prickly Pear Cacti and record highs and no rain has killed our grass. Has the world turned upside down?

2 Farmers' Almanac Staff { 08.11.11 at 12:40 pm }

Thanks very much karelstx!

3 karelstx { 08.11.11 at 11:36 am }

My family and I are not complaining here in North Texas, we are in the our 40 something day of over 100 temps and no rain, but we still look to you for our forecasts. Like Jackie said, yours predictions are better than all the DFW weatherpeople.

4 sheila63 { 08.08.11 at 4:23 pm }

i in east texas and it is hotter than _ _ _ _. we have been in the 3 digits with no rain for over a month

5 Cathy G { 08.05.11 at 2:07 am }

I’m in Minnesota, you got it partly right, but as far as the rainfall, the whole month of July, we were well above average for rainfall. You didn’t even talk about north central U.S, I suppose you got it wrong huh!

6 Leslie { 07.30.11 at 6:25 pm }

We need rain or hay we live around marlow ok by the lake are going to get rain

7 Jacob { 07.30.11 at 11:57 am }

Too much rain in New york. Well, actually we are just getting too much rain in a short period of time. Example: Yesterday- 2in=30minutes.

8 Joanne { 07.28.11 at 7:22 pm }

GREAT LAKES AND MIDWEST. Rain about average Are you kidding We are breaking all records for the amount of rain we received in July. BEsides we have had some VIOENT Wind, Rain,Hail Lighting and Thunderstorms. We;ve never had a July like this one. I’m afraid to go to bed at nite cause they are predicting more violent storms.

9 craig { 07.28.11 at 5:28 pm }

O.K. i am so sorry i did not realize there was 2 different farmers almanac’s i will pay more attention next time. Thank you for the information. Have a good day

10 Yvonne { 07.28.11 at 9:11 am }

Did you forget the record flooding in Missouri?

11 Tom { 07.28.11 at 8:40 am }

As a person that has used “statistical process control” methods to track actual performance and thus learn from past/current actions to improve performance for the future, I appreciate your candor and desire to learn by reviewing your predictions against actual events. Few “weather folks” are willing to do that.

12 Jillian { 07.27.11 at 10:03 pm }

I disagree with S.E Michigan….today was the first steady rain this whole summer. We went over 3 1/2 weeks without rain. I know because I had to haul water to my back garden every day! I have the arm and shoulder muscles to prove it

13 Jaime McLeod { 07.28.11 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Craig,
We’re the Farmers’ Almanac, not the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They are a different publication. We’re competitors. If you had the Farmers’ Almanac, the forecast would start on page 24.

14 craig { 07.27.11 at 4:33 pm }

O.K. i am confused, i got the old farmers 2011 almanac, and the forecast on page 80 under summer of 2011 was cool and dry??? so which one is correct.

15 April { 07.27.11 at 4:25 pm }

What about the North Central states?

16 Melissa Johnston Stock { 07.27.11 at 3:55 pm }

Above average temps… right on, but average rain fall??? We went over 2 weeks without a drop in July in central Indiana.

17 Farmers' Almanac Staff { 07.27.11 at 2:39 pm }

Awww, thanks Jackie!

18 Jackie in Texas { 07.27.11 at 1:32 pm }

You are still better at weather predictions than the local weather man/woman

19 joann { 07.27.11 at 10:44 am }

if I had a hose long enough, this BC resident would gladly send you the
last 100 mm we got.

20 George S. White { 07.27.11 at 9:34 am }

S.E. Michigan experienced the 2nd driest June in Weather recording history. July not much better!! ;-( We need rain!!

21 Km Koesler { 07.27.11 at 8:42 am }

Montague County Texas reporting in with less than 9 inches of rain since January 1, and currently in the 9th month of our county-wide burn ban. Other than the extremely violent hail storms, tornados, and microbursts a couple of times in May, we’ve had no rain. Yep, it’s hot and dry.

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