(angela n./Flickr)

The last month or so has felt a lot more like summer than fall, but there are finally some signs of autumn this week. Given the transition, this seems like a good time to look back at our summer outlook and figure out if it was any good.

We’re seeing mixed results.

The Capital Weather Gang publishes two seasonal outlooks each year — one for summer, which runs from June to August, and another for winter, which is December to February. All of our outlooks are quantitative; they have specific numbers that can be checked at the end of the season. Many weather organizations will publish outlooks, but few will go as far as to predict actual numbers. You’ll also find very few that hold themselves accountable when the season ends — especially if they did poorly.

The summer outlook we published June 1 was pretty good, but it wasn’t great.

Our overall temperature prediction for the summer was 1 to 2 degrees above average. We did very well on this aspect, since the average temperature this summer ended up being 1.1 degrees above average.

Our individual monthly temperature predictions were less on the nose.

We did okay in June, even if we fell a bit low: Our call was for 1 degree above average, and the month finished 2.1 degrees above average. July was our best call, though again we fell a tad short. We predicted a 1-degree-above-average month and it finished 1.9 degrees above. There is no way to spin August. We did terribly. We predicted August would finish 2 to 3 degrees above average, and it finished almost 1 degree below.

We place less emphasis on precipitation, but in that area we did quite well, predicting slightly to somewhat above average precipitation, and ending up with 140 percent of normal, thanks to a very wet July.

Some other miscellaneous prognostications:

  • We predicted one or two 100-degree days, and we didn’t have any
  • We nailed the number of 90-degree days, predicting 35 to 40 in June-August and ending up with 37
  • We called for a 90-degree streak of 10 days, but we were able to muster only several six-day streaks

In conclusion, on our most important aspect, seasonal temperature, we did great. But our monthly predictions were underwhelming. I think predicting seasonal precipitation correctly, as well as getting a bull’s eye on the number of 90-degree days, moves the needle very slightly up.

Overall, I would give our outlook a solid B.

Our winter outlook will be out in November. Until then, enjoy fall!

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