What Happened to Summer?
By Heidi Sonen & Roscoe Shaw
This summer wasn’t the coolest or the wettest ever, but what made it remarkable is how consistently cool and wet it was. The temperature never made it above 91 and there wasn’t a single “brownout” day where heat or drought baked the fields brown.
Quite a few summers have been wetter, but they usually had some very dry periods mixed with some extremely heavy rain events. Summer of 2013 featured very consistent, moderate rains. Our summer total was 18.37”, well short of the record 22.36” in 1994. But 1994 had 39 “brownout days,” versus none this summer.
Of course, summer isn’t technically over yet, but for this article, we are using June, July, and August as “summer.” To us, and many folks, summer ends with Labor Day despite what astronomers say.
This wasn’t the coolest summer either. 1927 was nearly two degrees cooler and at least a dozen other summers were cooler. What was striking was the lack of hot days. The summer high of 91 was matched only by 2004 when the hottest was just 90. The other 100 years or so in our database have reached at least 93. Almost half the years have a day above 100.
The temperature has been cooling slightly over the last 15 years in central Virginia. We thought the cooling trend may have ended with a warm 2011 and 2012, but seven straight cold months this year has kept the trend intact.
- August Normal 4.26”
- Crozet 5.15”
- Greenwood 3.94”
- CHO airport 6.12”
- Waynesboro 7.69”
- Univ. of VA 7.11”