From a meteorological perspective, we consider the calendar months of Jun, Jul, and Aug to be the summer months. With that in mind, summer is ending today and I think I probably echo a lot of sentiment in saying good riddance. The next question is how did this summer stack up in regard to the record summers of the past. Well, when you consider that this past June was the second warmest on record, July was the second warmest on record and August was the 5th warmest on record, you know it had to be up there. Turns out for the Tulsa metropolitan area, when you crunch all the numbers, summer of 2011 is in second place behind the brutal summer of 1980 and just ahead of those dust bowl years of 1936 and 1934.
Summer of 2011 has also tied with 1934 with 4 days at or above 110, 1936 still holds that record with a total of 11. The total number of triple digit days is well behind several other years largely because we only had 2 triple digits days in June. Perhaps more remarkable though is the fact that we only had 3 days during that period in which the temperature did not get above 90. That is a new record in that category and illustrates how persistent the heat was all summer long.
Enough of that; is any relief in sight. Well, with triple digits again today and forecast for Thu and Fri, the short term answer is obviously no. We will be close to triple digits again on Saturday, but after that the trend continues to support a significant change in the pattern. We have been talking for several days now about a cool front that will be arriving over the weekend. For the last couple of days, the guidance has remained very consistent in bringing that cool front through by early Sunday morning. Barring any major surprises, that will bring with it cooler conditions heading into the following week.
I say barring any major surprises because there is a potential game changer in the form of a tropical disturbance that is expected to be developing in the NW Gulf of Mexico. It is far too early to say just how strong this system may become, but if it really cranks up it could keep most of the moisture down there. That would reduce our rain chances and keep us even drier and cooler than currently anticipated. At present, it appears our best chance for showers and storms will be with the cool front Saturday night and into the day on Sunday, but that is obviously subject to change. After that, Labor Day and much of that week look very pleasant in comparison to what we have endured all summer long.
So, hang in there for a few more days. Relief is on the way. In the meantime, stay cool, stay tuned, and check back for updates.