Most Read: Local

Posted at 01:11 PM ET, 09/20/2012

Grading our summer outlook: we captured the scorching hot big picture

It appears we have finally settled into a nice fall pattern the last 10 days with at least another week to go. Note, however, it is unlikely that we are completely done with heat. We still have a 3-4 week window where some days in the 80s aren’t uncommon.

But we can safely put summer behind us. As we always do with our seasonal outlooks, below is a recap and grading of our summer outlook that we headlined: Washington, D.C. summer 2012 weather forecast: Brutally hot again, and dry

We predicted another hot summer to follow on the heels of our two hottest summers on record. And it was brutally hot, the third hottest summer on record. What a 3-year stretch!

The summer started off quite cool. Cool enough to prompt an internal discussion on whether we missed the boat with our outlook. By June 20, however, those fears were allayed as we settled into a relentless hot pattern for the balance of the summer.

We predicted June to be 2-3 degrees above normal. The incredible heat to cap off the month was enough to offset the cool first 3 weeks: June finished 1.1 degrees above normal. For June we get a B. It ended up above normal, but only delivered the big heat the last 10 days.

July was our worst monthly prediction. We called for a normal month and we got the 2nd hottest July on record: 4.2 degrees above normal, trailing only July 2011 in the record books. I’d be tempted to give us a failing grade, but I would reserve the Ds and Fs for predictions that called for a below normal July. Nonetheless, we receive a D+ for July, and you could argue that is generous.

August was another brutally hot month at 2.9 degrees above normal, which was warmer than our prediction of 1-2 degrees above normal. Just like June we missed our range by around 1 degree, though this time our call was too cool as opposed to too warm. For August, we also get a B.

Our overall prediction for all three months was 1-2 degrees above normal and we finished the summer at 2.7 degrees above normal. As we only missed the outside of our range by 0.7 degrees, that’s good enough for a B+ for summer temperatures overall.

We also did pretty well with some of our secondary predictions done mostly for fun. As such, these don’t count much towards our final grade:

* Our 11-consecutive day 90+ degree day streak (June 28 to July 8) nicely matched our prediction of 9-12 days.

* Our call for 40-45 90+ degree days (June-August) was quite close to the 48 we experienced.

* Our precipitation prediction of 75-80 percent of normal was dead on as we finished with 76 percent of normal rain.

* Our stated 50-50 chance of a top 10 hottest summer was accomplished easily with our 3rd hottest on record.

* Our 100+ degree day prediction of 1-2 missed badly as we had a stunning 8 days of 100 degrees or hotter.

Taking together our monthly predictions, our overall temperature prediction and some of our more fun predictions, we get a solid B grade for our summer outlook.

Now we look forward to a winter that will undoubtedly be snowier than the non-winter we last experienced. But that isn’t saying a whole lot.

Let’s first enjoy fall. We have plenty of time to whet the appetites of snow lovers.

PAST OUTLOOKS

CWG’s 2011 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’S 2010 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’s 2009 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)

By  |  01:11 PM ET, 09/20/2012

Categories:  Latest, Capital Weather Gang, Local Climate

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company