July 2016 Feature Story: Early Summer Start!

Summer arrived early across the Sauk Valley this year as high temperatures soared to near 90 degrees by the end of May, very much above average for that time of year, and as we are all well aware this trend continues to be present with us right here in June. We can’t complain too much though as the poor folks in the southwestern U.S. have been baking for weeks with high temperatures in the 110s and in some cases near 120 degrees! Now that’s some serious heat!

Now that we are nearly halfway through 2016 and the strong El Niño that provided us with a very mild winter has since diminished and is in the process of transitioning to a La Niña, a “normal” summer is expected to continue as we head through the rest of the season. What exactly does “normal” mean for us? Expect periods of hot and dry weather, with the occasional cool-down here and there.



One of the variables to look at this time of year is precipitation, as the sun will be reaching peak intensity with the summer solstice in late June. As of May we are currently running a bit below normal which corresponds well with our drought involving strong thunderstorm complexes that typically traverse the area during the month of June. In the accompanying graphic you can see how the beginning of the year started off a drier note with a pickup in precipitation intensity beginning in March as warmer air began to work northward. As of this writing (June 17) we continue to be below normal in spots for precipitation, unless you were underneath those heavy rain producing thunderstorms just a few days ago where some hometowns received in upwards of two to three inches of rainfall.

The forecast for the remainder of the month calls for a brief cool down the week of June 25th before more heat arrives for the last week of June heading into July. Precipitation is expected to be above average into the first part of July. Hopefully some area gardens will be able to experience the needed rainfall in spots.