PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a long winter and a cold spring, Southern New Englanders are likely more than ready for summer.
It was a winter with a lot of ups and downs and in the end, we picked up 51 inches of snow, followed by a stormy March and a very chilly April.
To get an idea of how Summer 2018 is shaping up, we must first look back at last summer, which was tranquil in terms of heat. We had only one heat wave in July, with only six days of temperatures 90 degrees or higher.
Last summer’s rainfall was just slightly below average. On a national level, the big story last summer was the hurricane season, with six major hurricanes forming and three making landfall in the U.S.
Last year’s La Niña, a cooling of Pacific waters, may have been a big driving factor in the 2017 hurricane season, along with the overall weather pattern across the nation.
Sea surface temperature anomalies like La Niña and El Niño are a good starting point for seasonal forecasts. Last year’s La Niña continues to weaken to a more neutral state.
There are also many global factors meteorologists look at when making seasonal predictions, such as wind circulations in the upper part of the atmosphere right down to the ground. Soil moisture (how wet or parched the ground is) can impact precipitation and temperatures due to evaporation, or lack thereof.
The outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center takes all of these factors into consideration, along with a unique set of long-range forecast models.
The forecast for June, July and August features average to above average temperatures in New England and the East Coast, with a large swath of heat out west. In fact, the long-range outlook even hints at warmer temperatures extending into early autumn.
As far as precipitation, rainfall is expected to be above average in New England but keep in mind, summertime precipitation tends to be scattered and heavy, but brief. Also, above average rainfall doesn’t mean a cooler summer.
The exact location and strength of the Bermuda High will determine the amount of heat, humidity and tropical moisture that’s carried north into New England. While most of the summer typically features modest humidity, we are expected to see more frequent high humidity days.