From the ABC 7 Weather team

Summer Outlook : Another Very Hot One? What the Team Thinks

May 18, 2012 - 05:50 PM
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Ready for another hot record breaking summer . . . or not

Here we are only 1 week away from the Memorial Day Weekend, the "traditional" beginning of summer. After so much record heat last summer (remember 104° July 29?)  many folks are not ready for heat and humidity. Look at our recent poll.  Boy only 15% say, "Bring it on"



But ready or not, we can't escape summer heat and humidity completely in Washington. So what will the coming summer be like? Another scorcher such as last July, out hottest month ever, with 25 90° days and that high of 104° on July 29th?  Or a break in hot humid summers?  Four of of the last five summers have been hotter than average. Each of our entire weather team has an opinion and the elements we look at include ocean- atmosphere links such as El Nino and La Nina . . . ENSO is neutral right now.   





One element I look at is soil moisture and drought and right now much of the south and southwest soil is dry and much of the area in drought.


It’s conditions like this that can give what we meteorologists call “feedback”. The soil, being very dry, does not absorb heat the way wet soil or the oceans do, but rather reflects heat back into the air and thus the heat feeds back or builds.


I’m afraid with that pattern now established and our warm pattern (12 of 13 months now above average) we are in for another hotter than average summer. But not as hot as last summer (+3.4°) or the summer of 2010 (+3.6°). I know that is being darning. So here is the rundown of what we all think about the coming summer.

Myself – Another hot one - temperatures above average and 35-45 90° days for the summer

Doug - I think it will not be a long, hot summer. Rather a “normal” summer is more likely, I think. If anything, might be a fraction below average temperature wise. Rainfall subject to tropical effects.

Alex - I'm a statistics guy and will go with persistence here. 7 of the past 10 summers have been above normal. I'll continue that but not nearly as hot as the last two. The normal is 77.7 degrees but the last two years have averaged above 81 degrees. I'll go with 78.5 degrees, nothing too excessive!

Adam –I think it'll be a slow start to the summer. We'll have a typical amount of heat and humidity, but I anticipate the final tally of 90 degree days to be near or slightly below average.  To be honest, I don't put much energy into the summer forecast because it's always hot and humid here in the D.C. area - you can't escape it. Sure, some summers are hotter than others and will have a greater impact on sensitve groups of people and some are cooler, but it's still just hot. You'll need your A/C and a pool will always feel refreshing in July in Washington no matter the final statistics.

Brian- Not an extremely hot summer with above average rain. 
Coming off a historically warm March, one may want to leap to the conclusion that the summer will be unbearable. Looking over the past statistics, we have actually had years with below-average summer temperatures following unusually mild, late winter/early springs so don’t fret the cooling bills just yet. Much like we’ve seen the repetitive pattern as of late with extended dry stretches followed up by periods of soaking rain.

Chris - I'm forecasting Summer temperatures that will run "+1.0 degrees above normal."  All told, it will feel like a “typical Mid-Atlantic Summer.” Additionally, I DO NOT think we will have more than one or two periods of prolonged heat (IE: Heat waves) and those periods, IF we see them, would last a week or less. Getting to specific numbers (31-36) 90° d or greater days this Summer, with the majority occurring in July.  I will add that I think this Summer will be rather active in terms of severe weather and storms, so make sure have your emergency kit in order and ready to go. Last, I believe that precipitation this Summer will be average or slightly above average. The wild card in all of this, of course, would be the impact of any tropical system.

Eileen - slightly above average temperatures overall with average to slightly below precipitation

Devon – I'd take a wild stab and say our summer will average "above" for temperatures and average "below" for total rainfall at Reagan National by the time we tally up the initial info. What do I think that REALLY means? I'd say a stretch or two (one or two weeks) of very hot weather, with generally a bearable summer but lacking in total rainfall... if I'm right, get ready to water!

Ryan Miller - I'm going slightly above average temps due in part to neutral ONI and slightly below rainfall values which could aid in bumping temps up.

Steve-I don’t think it will be as hot as last summer, but don’t look for prolonged periods of below average temperatures either. Around 40 90-degree plus days with at least 10 in the upper 90s and a few "super ugly hot days." Total number of days with rain or showers will be limited, but when it does rain, look for significant totals quickly. "

So the final tally is roughly 7 to 3 for a hotter than average summer in the DC area.  A guarantee?  Surely you jest.  There is no skill in day to day forecasts beyond about 7 days so all we can really talk about is the general outlook for the coming summer.

And can't forget what our colleagues at NOAA's Climate Predictiion Center think. The very latest outlook 



So be prepared, but if you don't like heat,  hope that this at least comfortable, low humidity pattern continues . . .and Doug, Adam and Brian are correct and myselfI and 5 of our team are wrong.  Of course keep watching Channel 7, News Channel and right here on  We'll keep you posted throughout the summer hot, humid or cool and comfortable.







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