A scalding summer? Who knows - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 8:38 am
A scalding summer? Who knows

Tired of summer in March?

Just wait for the real thing, because we could be in for a hot one.

It's too early to forecast summer weather, but conditions favor increasing drought, and drought means hot weather, said Al Dutcher, Nebraska's state climatologist.

Record warmth in March has most people looking at summer and fearing the worst.

So, what does history tell us?

Statistically, there's no correlation between what happens in March and what happens in summer, said Dutcher and National Weather Service meteorologist Barbara Mayes.

"It is a toss-up either way," Mayes said. "No clear signal."

Still, if you want to dream of cool summer breezes, pin your hopes on some not quite statistically significant Iowa numbers:

A half-dozen or so of Iowa's warmest Marches on record have been followed by one or more summer months that actually ran cooler than normal, said Harry Hillaker, state climatologist for Iowa.

The slim climatic clues available to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, indicate that most of Nebraska and western Iowa could see just about any kind of weather this summer.

Summer weather is harder to forecast than winter, Dutcher said. Summer lacks the slow-developing climatic drivers such as El Niño and La Niña, which can give meteorologists more warning about winter weather.

Like Dutcher, Mayes said it will be important to watch what happens with drought, which has entrenched itself southeast of Nebraska and settled across the northern third of Iowa.

"If that drier weather starts to spread into our area, our chances for warm temperatures will go up," Mayes said. "Those two tend to go hand in hand."

Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc., The World-Herald's weather consultant, said it strains credibility to think that this summer could be as abnormally warm as March has been.

This month has seen record warmth across the region and some daytime highs 20 to 30 degrees above normal.

"We aren't looking at anything nearly like the (records) we're seeing now," he said. "If we did, we'd be talking 100 degrees every single day, which would be really extreme."

And, as the past few years have shown, excessive humidity can make summers miserable even without record heat.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1102, nancy.gaarder@owh.com

Contact the writer: Nancy Gaarder

nancy.gaarder@owh.com    |   402-444-1102    |  

Nancy writes about weather, including a blog, Nancy's Almanac. She enjoys explaining the science behind weather and making weather stories relevant in daily life.

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