According to our climatological records, typically the last time the mercury hits the 90 degree mark in much of the region is in the 2nd week of August. Since we are entering the third week of August and have yet to reach this elusive temperature, the odds are working against us...right? Well not quite. Looking at this summer as a whole, everything seems to be coming around later than usual. It took an extra couple of weeks to really warm up across the region into the 80s, the severe weather season didn't get rolling until we were a week into June, with July actually having more days of severe storm watches and warnings, and so the dog days of summer should be the last item to check off the list. The other factor is that the typical summer time ridge of high pressure that usually builds across the middle of the U.S. pumping hot, humid air up into Wisconsin hadn't materialized until just recently. There has been scorching summer heat this season, out in the Rockies during the past month, ditto for the East Coast back in June and July, but the Western Great Lakes have been spared. As mentioned it appears that may be changing for the next few days, although I'm not anticipating a long lasting heat wave for the remainder of August.
Meantime, Tropical Storm Fay has churned across the Caribbean near Haiti and worked its way northwest into Florida. Fortunately the storm never reached hurricane strength (which would be maximum winds of 74 mph or higher). Nevertheless, it is going to still be a storm to watch as it may wonder out to the Atlantic off the Florida and Georgia coast before possibly pushing back to the west, making a potential 3rd landfall. Lots of rain will be the result with this storm, and the folks that really need it are in the southeastern US. At least Fay wasn't the second coming of Hurricane Charley, which back in 2004, wasn't more than a minimal hurricane working across the northern Caribbean, before rapidly intensifying and making landfall near Port Charlotte in southwest Florida. I'm not saying that history will repeat itself, but it just goes to show how important it is to monitor any tropical systems as they move closer to land. More so, we are likely to hear more about tropical storms and hurricanes during the next month as the peak of the season in the Atlantic is about to get underway.
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