Warm and Dry Once Again

By Russell Russ

August’s weather for Norfolk was highlighted by a couple of severe events during the first four days of the month. A small tornado went through North Norfolk on August 2, causing some tree and powerline damage. It was a localized event caused by one small, but strong, storm cell that produced several small tornados that afternoon. There was no rain or wind at the weather station that day. Then, on August 4, Norfolk saw effects from Tropical Storm Isaias. The weather station recorded 1.16 inches from this storm. The big problem with Isaias was the 40 to 50+ mph wind gusts which caused widespread and substantial tree and powerline damage all throughout the state. Power was out for several days in many locations. After these early days of wild weather, August settled down to be a rather pleasant weather month. Our dry spell continued and drought conditions have become an issue in Norfolk as well as many regions of the Northeast.

August’s high temperature of 87 degrees was observed on August 11 and the low of 48 was observed on August 31. The high temperature of 86 on August 23 was a new record for that date, surpassing the 85 from 1943. The monthly mean temperature of 69.1 degrees was 2.7 degrees above normal, our third month in a row with above normal temperatures. This August was tied with August 1938 as Norfolk’s eighth warmest August over the last 89 years. Norfolk’s warmest August on record was in 2001 with a temperature of 71.0 degrees. The coolest August on record was in 1964 with 61.5 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 3.56 inches, 1.06 inches below normal. This was below normal, but not near any records for lack of August precipitation. Norfolk’s driest August was in 1953 with just 0.65 inch, it was also Norfolk’s fifth driest month of any month. Norfolk’s wettest August and wettest month of any month was in 1955 with 23.67 inches. The Flood of ’55 occurred in August 1955, making that month’s total precipitation a real record setter. Coming in second wettest for August was 2011 with a more realistic and less off the charts total of 13.36 inches. The month of August can have big swings for precipitation amounts here in Norfolk. Hurricanes obviously play a large role in this.

Through August, the total precipitation amount for the year was 24.51 inches. This was 9.96 inches below normal and also 7.60 inches less than last year’s total through August. The year of 2020 has been a very dry one and if substantial precipitation does not come during the year’s final quarter, then it could rank as one of Norfolk’s driest years on record. Many areas in the Northeast are seeing similar drought conditions this year.

Beautiful weather continued to bless Norfolk during the first three weeks of September. Temperatures were seasonable and about normal for September, but rainfall continued to be below normal. It has been an active hurricane season in the Atlantic, with the Gulf Coast seeing numerous landfalls, but Connecticut has seen little in the way of tropical storms or hurricanes this year. With our dry conditions, many are hoping for a tropical storm or hurricane. Be careful what you hope for sometimes. We need rain, but we do not need it all at once. As is usually the case, Norfolk’s fall foliage season started in late August to early September. Peak coloring is usually around October 12, but the dry conditions this year may play a role and also may change the timing of our fall coloring. Fall is one of the finest seasons in Norfolk so get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and foliage while it lasts.