Thanks to persistent rainfall, we’ve started the month of June cooler than normal in the Houston region. The average temperature, through yesterday, is running 1 to 2 degrees below normal for most of us. But will that trend hold?
First, a word on what we mean by “summer.” There are various definitions of summer. Meteorologists define it as June through August. If we’re going by the solstice, summer runs from June 20 this year to September 22. For a practical Houstonian, I think a good definition of summer is June through September, as that’s the hottest time of year, and the period when we’re most concerned about tropical weather. So for this post, we’ll be looking at the period of June through September.
Models are fairly consistent in forecasting a cooler than normal, and wetter than normal June. (Note these seasonal forecasts were released on June 1, so they’re not “cheating” by taking into account the weather to start the month). Given our slightly cooler and definitively wetter start to June, and the potential return of wetter and cooler weather during the second half of next week, I think it’s safe to say these forecasts will verify.
July, August, and September
The question in my mind, then, is what comes after June? According to NOAA, the broader outlook beyond June sees Houston reverting to a more typical summertime pattern. The precise forecast calls for an average temperature for Houston and surrounding areas of 82.3 degrees, about 0.4 degree above normal. NOAA predicts an 80 percent chance of near normal, or above normal temperatures for July, August, and September. (Sorry, there’s less than a 3 percent chance of a substantially cooler than normal summer).
In terms of precipitation, the forecast calls for 15.0 inches of rainfall, which is pretty much right on normal. So, at this time, there is no expectation of a drought. As always, a single hurricane or tropical storm could completely wreck this precipitation forecast, so please take it with a grain of salt.
What should you take away from this? First of all, it’s great news that we’re probably not looking at an oppressively hot and dry forecast for this summer. No one wants to see a repeat of the summer of 2011 heat and drought any times soon. In the bigger picture, however, seasonal forecasts are nothing more than a very general guide. It’s still going to be hot this summer, and we’ll need to remain vigilant for any tropical weather.
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