What does a wet spring mean for summer?

Lois Williams - Church Hill

The top two things we remember about last summer's weather are the sweltering heat and the lack of rain to cool us off. Here we are, just about to wrap up the spring of 2017, and the story has been quite the opposite. We're nearing 21" of rain on the year, when we didn't reach that mark until July 27th last year!

It's tough to find a day to mow the lawn lately, because the ground is pretty water-logged. This May has been the 3rd wettest on record (so far), and this spring has been the 2nd wettest on record. (There's more rain and storms on the way too.)

The question that's popped in my head is this: 'What does this mean for the upcoming summer?'

So, I began digging into the data and what I found (for the most part) was pretty inconclusive. There were wet springs that were followed by hot summers, and there were dry springs that were followed by cool summers. However, there was one thing that kind of stuck out to me.

Remember last year when we had 62 days of 90° heat? Yeah, I don't think that will be happening.

From looking at the ten wettest springs on record, I was able to find that most of the following summers featured less than average amounts of 90° heat. The only exceptions were 2011 and 1955.

The reason for that has to do with the soil. With a wetter soil, more evaporation will occur. Evaporation is a cooling process, and so that typically doesn't allow for the air temperature to spike quite as high.

There's much less evaporation going on when there's a dry soil, which is part of why we saw so many 90° days last year. A wetter soil, though, may keep overnight lows from dropping very far.

Obviously, the moisture content in the ground isn't the only driving force behind our weather this summer. But, it is a part of it.

A warmer than average Gulf of Mexico may be enough to make our weather warmer than average, especially in the event of a a south/southwesterly wind. There are so many factors to take into account, that making a seasonal forecast takes more than just one blog post. At least the engines are turning, though.

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