What a difference a year makes!
Despite the recent hot and very humid weather we have had as August ended, this summer has been remarkably mild compared to our real scorcher last summer.
Recall that by the end of August last year, we had recorded 37 days on which the high temperature had been at or above 90 F. This year the grand total is seven (five of them in a row from July 15-19).
Overall, while last summer (June-July-August) averaged 4.73 F above normal, this summer the same period has been only 0.53 F above normal — pretty much a normal summer in terms of temperature.
Most of last summer was very dry, and we ended up 7.1 inches below normal for precipitation. Our incredibly wet spring carried over through June of this year and has resulted in this summer being 3.8 inches above normal for precipitation.
The Climate Prediction Center at the National Weather Service is calling for a warmer than normal September-December for most of Wisconsin coupled with above normal precipitation.
Such seasonal forecasts are based on statistics to a much greater extent than the one- to five-day forecasts commonly portrayed in the print and broadcast media.
As a consequence, one should not hold them to the same expectation for accuracy as the shorter range forecasts.
Last fall was about 0.4 F above normal even though September and October were both slightly below their respective averages.
Despite the great advances in numerical weather prediction on the one- to seven-day range that have been made over the last 25 years, it is still true that only time will tell what kind of autumn we will have.