After cool start, summer heat will be on early in 2017

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The Memorial Day weekend unofficially kicks off summer, and as we flip the calendar to June everyone is wondering the same thing: will we have a good summer this year? This is an easy one for me... of course we'll have a good summer!

There will be plenty of time for boats, flip flops, campfires and trips up north!  I think what people are truly wondering though is what *kind* of summer will we have. I can answer that one too.

For the sake of clarity, let's break this outlook down into two parts:

1) The first 6 weeks of summer (June 1 - July 15)
2) The second 6 weeks of summer (July 15 - August 31)

This will not only help us digest the forecast in easy to swallow pieces, but also highlights a possible noticeable shift in our larger weather pattern.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

PART 1: JUNE 1 - JULY 15

June will start comfortable, but statistically below average for temperatures. Generally, June 1 has a high temp near 75, which jumps to nearly 80 by June 15. However, when I look ahead over the next 2 weeks, I see days that mostly average between 71-77 degrees.

That's not too far off from the "normal" highs, but it's also not above them.  A series of low pressure systems that track from Canada will likely usher in cooler air for most of the Eastern U.S.


Things do change, and potentially in a big way, from mid-June through mid July. Those average/slightly below average temperatures will be replaced by warmer air - a LOT warmer.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has the majority of the United States (with the exception of The Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, and Iowa) either at average, or above average, for that time period. This means that the Fourth of July holiday has the potential to not only be warm but possibly hot. Good to be on the water then, huh?! 

On average, we get about eleven 90 degree days in the summer. I think we will probably see our first one sometime in mid to late June this year.

If you plan to travel up North though, I'd plan on things being a little cooler than what you might be used to, especially at night. Those night-time campfires may require a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt, especially up near Traverse City.


On a historical level, the middle of July is the hottest stretch of the year with high temps averaging close to 85 degrees. I can absolutely see this happening this year, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see a run of near 90 close to the end of July.

The closer we get to August, the higher the chance for our weather patterns to shift ever so slightly, bringing in air that knocks us back closer to average. 


The reason for this is the large scale weather pattern of El Niño.  As of today we are in what's considered a "neutral" period - neither El Niño or La Niña - but as we get into August there is evidence that El Niño will start to develop, and for us that means reverting back to slightly cooler air.

The last time we were in a pattern like this was 2003. That year is shaping up to be kind of a "blueprint" for this season. Looking back at that summer, the forecast was consistent with what I'm saying here: as we push through August expect the extreme heat to subside.


One important note to remember as we go through this summer season - no matter what date the calendar is on, we could have a cool day, or an extremely hot day.

What I mean is this: even though I anticipate early July to be hot, a strong cold front could come through and knock us into the 70s for a day or two. Likewise, while I think mid-August will be near normal, we may find ourselves under a heat dome for a few days and see those temps soar into the 90s.

Don't get too bogged down by the outlook... enjoy time outside, and don't get sunburned!

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