Summer began on June 21, 12 days ago. With extreme weather happening with increasing regularity, and with the drought of 2012 fresh in memories, you might be asking how hot will this summer get?
Predictions vary, of course. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that "summer will be much hotter than normal with near normal precipitation. The hottest period will be mid-June to early July and early August." Accu-weather calls for a summer of frequent storms but no widespread drought in Arkansas. The accuracy of those forecasts remains to be seen, but the Farmer’s Almanac nailed the winter forecast when it predicted that Arkansas would see a cold and snowy winter, which is just what happened.
Paris Middle School science teacher June Gilbreath was asked to do some research and come up with a summer weather forecast. She did and is predicting that things will be pretty close to normal this summer, much like last summer, in fact.
"Everything I’m reading doesn’t have alarm bells of anything extraordinary happening," Gilbreath said. "I think this summer will be normal or maybe a little warmer than normal."
In making her forecast, Gilbreath first mentioned that this is an El Nino year. El Nino is a weather effect in the Pacific that warms the water.
"It warms the Pacific Ocean at the Equator and that determines where the jet streams go," she said. "There’s a polar jet stream and a Pacific jet stream. El Nino warming the polar jet stream means it stays in the north with warmer temperatures below it."
But the El Nino is in its early stages, just beginning Gilbreath said. That means it will grow for five months. El Ninos last between three and seven years and the strength varies.
"Right now, El Nino is at moderate strength," Gilbreath said. "If it continues to gain strength as expected, we could see a bigger impact next year."
So year, Gilbreath is anticipating near normal or above normal precipitation for June, July and August. In June the area got 4.26 inches of rain and the average is 4.17. That follows a pattern of above average rain seen over the previous two months. In May, the area got 6.72 inches of rain and normal is 4.91 inches. April saw above average rain, too.
Normal rain in July is 3.5 inches and normal rain in August is 3.1 inches.
Gilbreath is also predicting normal high temperatures for the next two months. That would mean highs of between 92 and 94 in July and August.
"I’m sure we’re going to have a few days over 100 but not like what we saw in 2012," Gilbreath said. "I think this summer will be about the same as last summer."