What's with the weather? Last year's scorching heat, this year's cool temps

News-DemocratJuly 1, 2013 

Was it last year when the temperatures were scorching hot that was so unusual for this time of year?

Or is it this year when temperatures are so cool that is truly the odd occurrence?

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Laura Kanofsky, it's both.

"What we have going on right now is a pretty unusual pattern with a large low pressure pattern that is moving backwards across the country," Kanofsky said. "The pattern we're seeing right now is more common in the fall. But, last year we had an unusual high pressure system combined with a long time of almost no precipitation, things were really ideal for excessive heat."

Moisture in the air helps to hold down the temperature, Kanofsky said. With drought conditions firmly taking hold in the metro-east at this time last year, several record daily temperatures were set.

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, during the 10 days leading up to and including the Fourth of July in 2012, four of them were all-time highs:

* 108 degrees set on June 28

* 106 degrees on June 29

* 105 on June 30

* 105 on Independence Day, July 4.

That's an average high of 100.6 degrees. The historic average high for those 10 days is 89.1 degrees.

While local Fourth of July fireworks sometimes in the past have been canceled by rain, in 2012 many of the local shows were canceled because of a lack of it. Dry conditions made it too dangerous to celebrate the nation's independence in the traditional way because of the fear of starting a fire that couldn't be controlled.

This year the situation is exactly the opposite. Temperatures in the low 90s last week gave way to high temperatures in the 70s last weekend. And in many cases, those temperatures were only briefly reached with afternoon rains pushing them down even farther. The high over the same 10-day stretch this year averaged 85.3 degrees.

"We can see more of the same weather for the next few days," Kanofsky said. "There are going to be lower temperatures and we're probably going to still see occasional clouds and afternoon thunderstorms through the middle and late part of the week."

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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