If you’re eager for the return of cool weather, crisp air and falling leaves, it’ll get here… eventually.
You can’t keep a good autumn down for long, but according to the meteorologists at AccuWeather, the warmth and sun of summer will take its sweet time on the way out the door. In the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northern Plains regions especially, the return of fall weather is expected to be a gradual process that drags on throughout September.
The Southeast is predicted to remain wet as it as for most of the year. This will bring some relief from the late summer temperatures, but the ground saturation combined with the rising threat of tropical storm activity and heavy rainfall means that this region should be prepared for flash flooding events.
In the Southwest and along the West Coast, temperatures are expected to remain above average until cooler weather arrives in October. The prolonged heat and dry conditions mean that firefighters in the region shouldn’t expect much relief from the active 2018 wildfire season in the coming weeks.
Caught in the middle of all this, the Midwest and Great Plains are predicted to see more moderate temperatures and a mix of wet and dry weather this fall, with the possibility of early snowfall once temperatures start to drop.
Will El Niño Return?
The National Weather Service reports a roughly 60 percent chance of El Niño forming in the Pacific Ocean between September and November, with odds increasing to around 70 percent once winter arrives.
El Niño conditions occur irregularly, often a few years apart, when weather patterns create above average surface ocean temperatures in the Pacific. For the U.S., this often means above average temperatures for the West Coast, above average precipitation for the Southeast and below average precipitation in the Ohio Valley region and the Pacific Northwest.
If El Niño does develop, it could push the jetstream to the south, which would bring cooler temperatures to the Midwest and Southern Plains. It could also bring precipitation to parts of the Southern Plains that have experienced drought conditions this year. El Niño could even take the edge off of hurricane season in the U.S. just as we’re entering its most active weeks.
Hurricane Risk Persists
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks hurricane and tropical storm activity, has predicted a near or above average hurricane season for 2018. Forecasters predict a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms, 5 to 9 of which could develop into hurricanes, and of which 1 to 4 may be category 3 or higher.
There have only been a handful of named storms so far, including two hurricanes, neither of which were major. At this point in the season, that puts the tropical storm activity slightly above average for frequency of storms. But as the Washington Post points out, the storms we’ve seen so far have been slightly below average in terms of intensity.
September is historically the most active month for major hurricanes, so while we hope for a season that is less destructive than last year’s, it’s now time to start keeping a close eye on the National Hurricane Center for updates.
In the meantime, enjoy the dog days of summer while they last. And last. And last.