MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its outlook for temperatures and rainfall for the summer months of June, July and August.
The latest outlooks from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center indicate significantly increased chances for above normal temperatures across the Carolinas for this summer. The outlook for rainfall over the same period indicates a slightly increased potential for above normal precipitation.
All in all, the outlook calls for a relatively normal summer season with seasonably hot and humid weather mixed with bouts of well above normal temperatures. Rainfall may be sporadic at times with dry spells mixed with periods of more stormy weather from time to time.
The last 30 years have seen a subtle warming trend of summer temperatures across the eastern Carolinas and that trend is forecast to continue, and is the basis for the forecast of above normal temperatures this summer. The National Weather Service states that in four of the past five summers, observed average temperatures (daily highs and lows averaged together) have been warmer than average.
Increased summer temperatures can worsen heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This is particularly true when high humidity occurs with the high temperatures over an extended period of time. Hotter summer temperatures also increase electrical demand for air conditioning and cause higher power bills for homes and businesses.
Compared to temperature, rainfall tends to have much more variability from place to place and also from summer to summer across the Carolinas. While most inland areas have had normal to slightly drier than normal summers over the past five years, the coast has experienced a mixture of very wet and very dry years. Much of the rainfall in the very wet years has come from increased impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes.
The outlook for the summer of 2020 is for a slightly increased chance for above normal rainfall. This is primarily due to the fact that soil moisture levels are currently above normal across most of the Southeastern United States. This additional moisture in the soil keeps the atmosphere more humid, making it easier for showers and thunderstorms to develop.
The rainfall pattern during summer months is much different than the winter. Summer rainfall comes primarily from afternoon and evening thunderstorms that can produce locally heavy rain in one area, but leave other areas dry. With a fairly typical summer weather pattern in place, enough daily thunderstorms can produce average rainfall across a broad area.
Rainfall during the summer is extremely important for agriculture. Water usage for crops and livestock reaches its peak during the summer months, and even relatively short periods of drought can have negative impacts.