Template, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release August 13, 2004
What Happened to Summer?
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu

“The overall temperature for summer 2004 is averaging 2.7 degrees below normal through August 12 with record-breaking lows; if this continues, it will be the fourth coldest summer and the second coldest August in Illinois since 1900. Not only are the temperatures colder than average, but there just hasn’t been much hot weather this summer,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“This is due to a summer-long weather pattern dominated by cooler, drier Canadian air rather than warmer, more humid Gulf of Mexico air. Statewide, summer temperatures were below normal by 1.9 degrees in June, 2.9 degrees in July, and by 5 degrees for the first two weeks of August,” says Angel.

An evolving feature of the nation’s weather patterns over the last century has been a northward shift of the jet stream producing warmer temperatures over the western United States, and a southward dip in the jet stream producing cooler temperatures over the Midwest and the East.

The summer of 1915 was the coldest on record, with temperatures averaging 3.9 degrees below normal. More recently, the summer of 1992 was almost as cold, with temperatures averaging 3.4 degrees below normal due to the lingering effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines in 1991.

The hottest temperatures reported this summer are averaging 93 degrees statewide, down from the normal 97 degrees. Highs at or above 95 degrees have occurred only on 1–3 days in the southern half of Illinois and none in the northern half instead of the usual 2–6 such days at most Illinois locations by now. Temperatures at or above 90 degrees also have been noticeably less frequent: 2–4 days rather than 10–16 days in northern Illinois, 4–8 days rather than 16–24 days in central Illinois, and 8–14 days rather than 24–26 days in southern Illinois.

Statewide, summer rainfall is averaging 8.84 inches (94 percent of normal), and year-to-date precipitation is averaging 24.58 inches, exactly normal, through August 12.

The National Weather Service is calling for colder-than-normal temperatures for the next two weeks. “By then, we will be pretty much through August, and the likelihood of really hot weather will diminish rapidly,” says Angel.

“Historically, the type of summer we’re having this year does not necessarily foreshadow a colder-than-normal winter. In fact, it often has led to near normal winters,” concludes Angel.

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