Sunrise over the World War II Memorial on August 9, 2014. ( Navin Sarma via Flickr )

September has been pretty hot, and – up until today – hasn’t felt very fall-like. But since meteorological summer ended on August 31, it is time to grade our summer outlook.

Capital Weather Gang publishes summer and winter outlooks with specific numbers that can be scored, and then we grade ourselves when the season is over. There are a lot of seasonal outlooks these days, but you will find very few who hold themselves accountable when all is said and done, especially if they did poorly.

In short, our summer outlook was a success.  Consider this spot-on excerpt:

Overall, we think this summer will be quite manageable by D.C. standards. If we can survive some of those oppressive mid-summer days (they always happen), we think there is a shot we could be rewarded with quite a nice August  (again, a lot like last summer)…

We said this summer would resemble last summer (2013), and that was an apt comparison.  Last summer finished 0.6 degrees above normal overall and this summer finished 0.4 degrees above normal.

While there was quite a spread in temperature differences from normal this summer across the region (with suburban areas on the cool side with respect to average), we always forecast and grade based on the weather reporting station at Reagan National Airport. Our outlooks are made specifically for the intricacies of Washington, D.C.’s official recording station, and its biases are accounted for when formulating numbers. (Whether we should change the way we do our outlooks to account for a broader area is a good question, but one to address another time.)

Here is what we got right and what we got wrong.

  • Our overall temperature prediction for the summer was normal to 1 degree above normal. We nailed it. This summer finished at 0.4 degrees above normal.
  • Our individual monthly temperature predictions were more of a mixed bag. We did great in June, with a +1 to 2 degree prediction, and a +2 degree actual result. In July we predicted 1 degree above normal, and in August 1 to 2 degrees below normal. Both months (July and August) finished 0.4 degrees below normal. I think August was a decent call, though not great. July was a miss, but certainly not awful.

While we place less emphasis on the precipitation outlook, we managed to do quite well. We predicted normal precipitation and ended up with a slightly above average result.

As far as our miscellaneous predictions, while we were correct that there would be no 100 degree days, we predicted significantly more 90 degree days (30 to 35), than occurred (16). Additionally, we never had more than three 90 degree days in a row in the months of June, July, and August, well short of our predicted seven to nine.

Overall, I would grade our summer 2014 outlook a B+. We didn’t get everything right, but the most important aspect of the outlook – the average summer temperature – was a bulls-eye. We’re looking forward to issuing the winter outlook, and we’re sure you’re anticipating that, as well. The winter outlook is about two months away, but let’s enjoy fall first, shall we?

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CWG’s 2013 summer outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’s 2012 summer outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’s 2011 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’S 2010 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)
CWG’s 2009 Summer Outlook (post-summer evaluation)