BUFFALO, NY-- Storm Team 2 has been taking a peek at what we believe the summer forecast holds for Western New York.
This summer is certainly shaping up to be a little different than last summer. Last year, we were in a weak La Niña weather pattern, cooler than average ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean promoted warmer and drier conditions across the Great Lakes for a bulk of the summer.
In fact, it turned out to be the third warmest summer on record, and of course, we had our drought with a very dry spring and early summer. Luckily, we got a little bit of help from Mother Nature in August.
As for this summer, Storm Team 2 went back and looked at past years that had a similar La Niña set up to this summer. We came up with six summers in the last 25 years that were similar to this year, and in six of those summers, three turned out to be warm. Those years were: 2006, 2002 and 1994.
With that in mind, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has a temperature outlook for May, June and July with a trend towards above normal temperatures for much of the nation, with a focus of higher probabilities for the east.
It terms of rainfall, first and foremost we can rule out any kind of drought, as it is been such a wet spring so far.
April was already the wettest month on record. Because the ground is so wet, humidity levels may be higher as we head into the summer months. Also, it will be hard to have extreme heat early in the summer given that much of the sun’s energy will go into evaporating ground moisture. That means we may not get the hottest part of the summer until late in the season.
An example of how wet it has been across New York is that most of the area picked up 12 to 15 inches of rainfall over the past three months, with 3 to 5 inch surpluses. With a wetter weather pattern expected to continue into May, we think it’s safe to say we will be drought-free this summer.
Rainfall prediction is not as precise when making long-range forecasts in the summer months. It does look wetter for the Intermountain West and the Gulf Coast with a trend towards drier weather for the Western Great Lakes and equal chances of a wetter or drier summer here in Western New York.
The front half of the summer is expected to wetter than the back half.
What can we expect weather-wise for this summer? More humid, average rainfall with the hottest of the summer coming in the second half of the season.