ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – It was a tough end to winter in St. Louis this year with impressive cold and snow in February and into the start of the month of March. We had 23 days in a row of below average temperatures, in some cases well below average. Some may think that that super cold snap may provide some clues to the summer season. Will it be a beast, an easy cruise, or something in-between? Will there be a lack of rain and storms? Let’s answer those questions and take a look at my Summer 2015 Long-Range forecast.
The new up-tick in the redeveloping el Niño out in the Pacific will be a big feature in the month of June. This means the focus will be on a June much like last year and not the beast of a summer pattern that baked us between 2010 and 2012. However, June is typically a wild month when it comes to our weather. It is known for its wet weather and temperature swings.
Spring is winding down and it’s time for summer to start putting on the main act. But the change in temperature will be taking place in slow motion. The wet weather of the spring will tend to keep any fast and long lasting heat waves in check this June. That is great news for all the graduations, weddings, and all the other fun events that kick off the summer season. Now, it is June and there will be some hot weather of 90 plus heat, especially in the middle of the month, but my main point is a see-saw in temperatures. Looks for battles between hot and cool for June. I think when we add up all the days, June temperatures will be near average to slightly below.
Moving on to the moisture patterns. El Niño will be the main player and it is making a comeback. I don't think it will get beaten back. If anything, like last summer, it will be growing. When you add that to the see-saw temperature pattern I’m expecting, June will shape up as a rock and roll month. In fact, June is one of the wettest months of the year in St. Louis and this month will try to keep that title alive and well. Now we really never see all day rains in June. It’s all in the form of thunderstorm events that typically last 4 to 6 hours and then move on. However, those 4 to 6 hours can really mean business. I think we will see 6 to 7 thunderstorm events, each having the potential to go severe at times. As a result, rainfall for June will be near to slightly above average.
So, it’s a wet month. Flash flooding will be a concern during each storm event and let’s keep an eye on the big rivers for some pop-up river levels that could trigger some June flooding. There will be dry time during the month, but with all the events that happen in June, some indoor back-up plans are in order.
Things to look for the month of June
- Watch for birds carrying food to their young
- Check evergreens for bagworms
- Cattail blooms are covered with pollen
Major points of June 2015:
- Look for see-saw temperatures all month long...like last June. Battles between hot and cool resulting in temperatures near to slightly below average.
- Expect rock and roll times with a steady stream of thunderstorms spread out during the entire month
- Above average rainfall along with local flash flooding and concerns about some large scale flooding on the big rivers.
July is all about the heart of the summer season in St. Louis and, in turn, this is typically the hottest month of the year, even if a summer is considered cool. The forecast question in July is it a constant pounding of heat and humidity from start to finish or do we get a break from the oven from time to time? Temperatures are also important because the trend will drive the July moisture makers: thunderstorms.
This will be a rather tough month to forecast in the long term because there is going to be intense summer heat over the western United States and into the central and northern Great Plains. That hard core summer weather is a little too close for comfort. I have seen something like this really toss a curve ball our way, especially in July. With that said, like last summer, I think this July will be rather easy to take. It is still a summer month but we are not trapped in the oven. But any minor shift in the western heat could cause problems. I just don't see long runs of pounding summer heat and humidity. Yes, there will be plenty of 90 plus degree heat but I don't see any records. 100° plus days will be tough to come by, but there may be one or two days where we could make a run, especially late in the month. It’s still month to find some shade, head to the local pool, and slow the pace down but overall it is not a extreme July.
On to rain and thunderstorms. Things will go dry and go dry rather quickly as we get into the month of July. It’s not really a drought situation but we will start to notice that the vegetation will be asking for rainfall and the rivers will be dropping. There should be two rounds of thunderstorms that will keep us from getting into a pounding drought and those storms will bring some fast, heavy rain along with high winds, lightning, and, in some cases, local flash flooding These are typical, classic St. Louis summer thunderstorms. Rainfall for the month will be below average.
Things to look for in July
- The bird songs have now subsided now that the birds are busy raising their young
- Long-tailed weasels breed through August
- Watch for hummingbirds bringing their young to feeders
Major points for July 2015
- I'm not expecting a super hot July...temperatures pretty close to average
- No record heat… with only limited runs at the upper 90's and 100° plus degree heat.
- Some concerns about the beginnings of a drought…rain will be below average for the month
The month of August is an interesting month. We are still thinking about slowing down and taking it easy, but the end of summer is near and things really start to ramp up. High school sports start, all the schools are ready to get back to work, and before you know it, we are all saying “what happened to summer.”
The two main features this month will be the slowly growing el Niño and all that heat and drought over the Plains, just to our west. This August, like last August, appears to be the warmest month of the summer season. I'm thinking that heat and drought in the plains will start to flex its muscles. There should be just enough of a break-down in a dominating northwest flow that summer heat will make a few runs at us. The heat is not going to get locked in and there will be breaks that will help with the cooling bills. This will be a dry heat when it releases our way, not that deep humid flow from the Gulf of Mexico. That lack of humidity is the key in allowing our temperatures to jump and with a few blow-torch shots that will be our best chances for reaching 100 plus degrees, especially mid to late month. The good news is that a few cooling surges from the northeast will keep the summer furnace from getting out of control. But I am thinking temperatures will be above average for this up-coming August.
On to the moisture patterns of rain and thunderstorms... With a few cool pushes from the northwest, we will see one or two hits of fast moving and intense thunderstorms. Classic summer storms, especially in the first quarter of the month. With that said, these are never all day rains and they will be limited. In turn, the month will average out on the dry side and there will be an uptick in talk about drought. The concern will be the dry heat which will allow the soil and vegetation to dry out very quickly.
Things to look for in the month of August
- Large flocks of purple martins gathering for fall migration
- Late summer molt produces drab colors in robins and other birds
- Wild cherries and wild grapes begin to ripen
Major points for August 2015
- This appears to be the warmest month of this summer season as the hot and dry weather from the Plains spills our way
- Look for several runs well into the 90's and this month brings the best shot at 100 plus degree heat.
- There will be one or two thunderstorm events...but let’s think this is a dry month with increasing talk of drought
Summer 2015 Summary
The focus during the summer season will be a growing el Niño pattern, watching the hottest weather in the nation over the central and northern Plains, and the overall atmospheric conditions similar to last summer. Yes, there will be plenty of hot weather but I am not seeing a beast of a Summer and drought concerns should not really show their hand until the month of August.
The next long range forecast will be for the Fall season but that is a long way off. Until then, let’s enjoy and fun and the weather of summertime in St. Louis.