Friday, October 8, 2010

Summer 2010 Roundup

Hottest on Record!

Is it possible to complain enough about this past summer?  In addition to being the hottest on record I cannot remember a summer season which featured such long stretches of extreme heat with no relief! For your reference here was my Summer 2010 and Tropical Outlooks.

The idea of large scale land based blocking patterns was easy derived.  It was challenging to figure out that NC and VA would be in the heart of the heat wave as I oscillated between the idea of a cool and hot summer last spring.  The final result was hotter than my very uncomfortable idea of 2-3 above average.

Source: National Climatic Data Center
It is easy to see that the areas specified as being hot were really close to being correct. It would have been great to have been more accurate about the heat BUT warnings of long hot and dry stretches during the season was a great description.

A Drought which mathematically did not happen

Rainfall amounts were near 69% of average at the airport.  I must point out that RDU was a bit dry (.47") on August 24th when the Garner, NC Weather Station reported 4.77"!  So even though overall we were nearer to average than a drought the oppressive heat and long dry periods led to a gardening season which was extremely challenging.  My end of summer flooding concerns were certainly vindicated by the near 6" deluge at the end of September.  On a national scale there was no dominance of drought when total rainfall was considered.

Source: NOAA Earth Science Research Laboratory

Tropical Storms gobbled up by King TUTT

Persistent low pressure in the Atlantic combined with persistent upper level SW flow led to a season which started quietly before EXPLODING in late August.  Here is the Unisys site showing the storm tracks.  Earl was closest to NC as he passed just offshore of Cape Hatteras as he was weakening from a Cat 4 to a 2!  He illustrated my concern that storms that would fail to stay far out to sea would be monsters.  Florida avoided a big hit (so far) and Earl was our closest brush to a major hit.

Therefore the dominant storm tracks and expectation of a late starting season was very correct.  Risk to Florida has not yet materialized and may not...  Earl was wide right of Cape Hatteras.  My projected number 12 was low as the storm total is 15 (even though Bonnie, Colin, Gaston,  and Nicole were pretty lame classifications).  I admit that my 12 number included a couple of named storms by the Tropical Prediction Center which would be questionable.

Summer by the numbers (RDU)

Source: National Weather Service
  • Ave temperature, 81.7 was a scorching +5.1 anomaly, record hottest!!!
  • At 92 the average high temperature simply unbelievable.
  • Rainfall was 69% of average. 8.06"
  • Cooling degree days reached an EXPENSIVE 1555 which was 50% aboverage average.
  • Counting was difficult.  It appears that 8 Record high minimums were set and 3 record highs.  It was amazing to observe mid to upper 80's as late as 11PM across the area on several occasions.
I am extremely glad that Summer 2010 is now history.  In 42 years of life I cannot recall suffering so much in one season.  It was no fun to be outside hardly at all.

There was one benefit to the awful summer.  Every other day was Christmas on the Cayenne bush!

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