This Summer Was One for the Record Books

Sep 07, 2016
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

If you thought this was a particularly hot summer, your instincts are correct. In fact, based on mean average temperature, the summer of 2016 was the second hottest in New Jersey since meterological records started being kept in 1895, according to David Robinson, state climatologist from Rutgers University. Also, August saw the highest mean temperature based on data gathered by the National Weather Service station in Mount Holly.

“The statewide average temperature was 77.1 degrees, which is almost four degrees above the average of 73.4 degrees,” said Robinson.

He said people should be used to sultry summers, since five of the seven hottest have been recorded since 2000.

“It’s caused by a strong, persistent Bermuda high over the Atlantic that churns the hot air to us from the south and keeps the cooler air to the north,” he said. “Then you have to factor in the globe getting hotter because of climate change.”

Robinson said the system suppresses precipitation, creating what turned out to be a very dry August.

“For example, we have two weather data locations in Stafford Township,” said the climatologist. “One recorded 1.85 inches of rain while another recorded 2.27 inches. But we had more than an inch of rain in the areas on Aug. 1, so that one location in Stafford had eight-tenths of an inch the rest of the month. That’s very abnormally dry. In August, most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which mostly formed north of Ocean County.”

He said July was much wetter as Stafford readings were 4.3 and 4.7 inches.

“If we didn’t have that rain, we’d have the potential for a bad drought situation,” Robinson said.

According to the National Weather Service, the Mount Holly office’s station in Atlantic City recorded a mean temperature of 78.2, while the norm is 74.4. From June through August, the average temperature was 75.8 degrees, 1.4 degrees above normal.

Concerning rainfall, the Atlantic City station recorded 1.10 inches in August, nearly 3 inches below normal. From June through August, the total rainfall was 10.94 inches, or 1.3 inches below normal.

If you think September means the end of summer-like weather, think again. The National Weather Service is calling for temps approaching 90 this weekend.

“There could be some records broken,” said James Bunker, observing program leader at the Mount Holly office. “Overall, it looks like above-normal temperatures will continue into the fall.”

— Eric Englund

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