Summer 2017 Outlook: Temperatures, Precip and Hurricanes

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Ahhh it's the moment we've ALL been waiting for! Summer is FINALLY upon us. Wait... What? I know, I know. You're thinking "But Nick, Summer doesn't start until late June, right?" If you pay attention to your calendar, yes, but those of us in the weather field go by a different set of standards when talking seasons. Meteorological Summer begins on June 1st and runs through August 31st. We categorize that time frame specifically because it is the period in which high temperatures are at their warmest. Just makes sense to go with that!

I know MOST of you are excited to get leave Spring behind and focus on much nicer and warmer weather. We've been stuck in a "funk" for what seems to be all of Spring! Yuck. With the exception of a few weeks, the majority of our Spring has been cool and wet. In fact, SO wet that it will turn out to be the wettest in nearly 2 decades with over 16" of rain since March 1st. Craziness! Why such the ugly pattern? It's all about the dip in the jet stream that's been overhead for the better part of the season. Upper atmospheric pressure systems have dictated that outcome unfortunately. Now, we ARE in a transition period and nicer weather WILL be seen. But overall, we aren't knocking down any doors, especially in June. Let's get right down to brass tacks, shall we?

June outlook: The average going into the month is 76. I think we are either right around that number or below for the first week. There could even be a few days where we don't get out of the 60s. SEVERAL degrees below the average. Sigh. I also think we stay unsettled and add in several shower chances. Things should start to get better as we head into the mid section of the month. Now, that's not to say we couldn't have a hot day or two beforehand, but overall I don't see any big heat. 


I think as we go into Mid-June and definitely through July and August we WILL see Summer temps (plenty of 80s and 90s). I don't think we are knocking down doors with extreme heat though, it will likely be COOLER than last year. Don't go thinking it will be COLD... It won't. But I could see several days where we are around average with spikes here and there. I think everyone gets a little of everything so that should make you happy. I'm going 1 degree (Celsius) above average which equates to around 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Not extreme.


We've definitely seen our fair share of wet weather this Spring. I think we finally lift out of this pattern and normalize. Looks like most of the wet weather will be centralized over the southern portion of the US with an abundance of tropical moisture available from the Gulf of Mexico. Dallas to New Orleans to Atlanta I expect to be wetter than average. This is also the result of the above average hurricane season activity I'm anticipating. 


June 1st doesn't only mark the beginning of Meteorological Summer, but also the start of our Hurricane season. Here's the list of names we will be using this year. We already saw our first system of the year way back in April. The second year in a row the first storm formed outside of the confines of hurricane season. It had NO impact to any land as it was just a fish storm. 

There are multiple things we need to look at when forecasting the number of tropical systems. I'll be completely up front and honest, as I try to be all the time: This will be a VERY challenging year due to positioning of higher pressures and certain areas of warm water including El Nino. 

Let's have a look at the equatorial pacific. We see the emergence of a weak El Nino as there is an undeniable warming trend in the heart of the Pacific Ocean that signifies such. How does this impact Tropical development? Well... that's the thing... it may not have too big a hand in how things play out in the Atlantic this year because it is west-based. Last year we had an east-based El Nino meaning the water off South America was REALLY warm which created some pretty good trade winds which led to shear over the Atlantic which tore storms apart and made that region unfavorable. 

With the warmest water FAR away, there will likely be much less of an impact meaning the Atlantic will be left alone which could bring more favorable conditions for development. 

Now lets take a look at what the sea temps are looking like right now. On average we are VERY warm right off the east coast and through portions of the Gulf. This is where I think we have the greatest threat for development and NOT the central Atlantic. Look at where the bulk of the warmth is. Right near Mexico and right off the east coast. THAT is where I think we have some issues. In this kind of pattern development closer to the coast is favored which can be both good AND bad. Small storms that have the potential to grow larger BUT no real room for long term strengthening. This also makes for headaches forecasting as the time between development and potential impact is much smaller that when we are watching a storm roll across the Atlantic.

With that said... IF water temps stay as I think they will, which would mirror where they are right now, here are the areas of least and greatest concern.

1. Gulf Mexico, which would put the entire Southern portion of the country at risk. If a storm follows the warmth off the east coast, a lot of activity would miss off shore, plenty of close calls though. 

2. Since there is a pool of much cooler than average temps off shore of New Jersey, I wouldn't expect any extreme storms for us, if one was heading in our direction it would likely rapidly decrease in intensity. There IS concern for us, but not nearly as much as everyone highlighted in orange and red.

3. Probably 10-15 NAMED storms, 3-5 of which will become hurricanes and 1-2 could be major. We have NOT had a major hurricane make landfall in the US in over a decade. Could that change?

With every long-range forecast, this is to be taken with a very small grain of salt. Or sand, you choose. Of course I will be here with you every step of the way, stay tuned for more details and tweaks to this forecast!