Finally some summer weather

By Russell Russ

With one month to go in the summer season we finally got some summer-like weather. If you were missing those hot, humid days of summer you finally got to enjoy some this month. Has global warming reduced Norfolk’s summer down to just one month? Does global warming have anything to do with it? These are very good questions that make for great conversations and give writers a great deal to write about. It seems that there are many opinions, but so far no definitive answers.

The month’s low temperature of 47 degrees was observed on August 8. The high temperature of 86 was observed on August 17. The average mean temperature this month was 68.0 degrees, 1.8 degrees above normal. We haven’t been above normal since May when we were just barely above normal. There were no individual days with record temperatures, but we did see 12 days with temperatures at or above 80 degrees. On average Norfolk reaches 90 or above 2.5 times per year. This typically occurs in July or August. The highest temperature recorded this year was 88 degrees and that occurred on April 28.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 5.69 inches, 1.16 inches above normal. August’s rainfall was above average, but not record setting by any means. There were only four thunderstorms observed at the station this month. For the year 2009 through August, the total precipitation amount was 40.51 inches, 6.15 inches above normal.

Norfolk’s June and July combined rainfall total of 18.37 inches made it the wettest June and July combination in the last 78 years. Norfolk’s June, July and August total was 24.06 inches, third wettest on record for that period. This summer was only surpassed by 1986 (24.32) and 1955 (27.91). The record setting summer of 1955 was quite dry until August weighed in with The Flood of ’55. The August total alone that year was 23.67 inches, still to this day, by far the record rainfall for any month.

For some perspective, with 18.51 inches recorded for June, July and August, it was Albany, NY’s third wettest summer dating back to 1826. Other regional summer amounts were Hartford, CT (20.29), Poughkeepsie, NY (20.47), Pittsfield, MA (23.01) and Bennington, VT (17.98). The summer of 2009 was definitely a wet one for the entire Northeast.