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Don Paul: The heat wave has gone ... but not for long

The first five days of July were doozies. Our average high was 90, and our monthly mean temperature was 10.8 degrees above average. There can be some quibbling over whether that constitutes a heat wave, but not in my mind: It qualifies because of public impact. Combining the heat with high to very high dew points on four of those five days meets my unofficial standards for heat wave discomfort. In any case, a search reveals quite a number of differing standards, even within NOAA, for what qualifies officially as a heat wave.

In any case, after a brief cool-down on Friday and Saturday, we’ll be getting warm again. By warm, I mean above average temperatures will dominate during the week of July 9. But it won’t quite be heat-wave territory. We should stay beneath 90, with 80 being the average high for this time of year.

However, a solitary 90 following all the 80s by next Saturday isn’t out of the question.

It is possible, if not probable, that this past week will end up being our hottest week of the summer. That included the hottest Fourth of July on record for Buffalo, at 93 degrees.

However, a little over a week ago it appeared we would be headed to near normal or even slightly below-average temperatures by July 10. Now, as of this writing, that no longer seems to be the case.

This part hasn’t changed. The upper-air pattern for Monday still looks hot:


After the hot start to the week of July 9, model ensemble data had shown a nice retreat to the west for that hot ridge of high pressure, allowing a somewhat cooler WNW flow to take up residence in the Great Lakes. That’s no longer showing up by late Wednesday.

A very warm pattern (not blazing hot) is shown to persist through July 15.


The meteorologists at the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center/CPC have a huge swath of the nation, including Western New York, at a high 60 percent probability of above average temps July 11-15. See graphic at left.

They hold onto that trend for the following week. After just having gone through the European, U.S. and Canadian ensembles, I can’t disagree.

There will be some variations from day to day, but current indications don’t show much in the way of sub-80 degree high temps after July 6 and July 7 for at least a couple of weeks.

Looking further out in time, CPC has us at a slightly elevated probability for below temperatures in their experimental three- to four-week outlook. If you have a farm, don’t bet it on that. Once in a great while, we get a strong signal on temperature trends far in advance. I don’t believe this is one of those times, and I view weeks three and four as a crap shoot. Pardon the vernacular.

Some people received downpours this week, including Thursday evening. In general, there is a large portion of Western New York north of the southern tier that is abnormally dry.

That is not the equivalent of a drought, and this is soil moisture as of July 3, the latest available. My particular property looks like a prospector with a pickaxe and a mule could show up any time now. Widespread rain is hard to come by during the warm weather months, during which smaller convective cells with hit and miss coverage is more common.

This next week promises to be a dry one, so I’d recommend turning the spigot on at regular intervals.

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