August Almanac: Like Two Months in One - 09/02/13
It seems rare that any month in West Michigan is "normal" weather wise, but last month (August), was particularly odd. At first glance, that wouldn't seem to be the case. For example, the average high and low temperatures for the month were very close to the climatological (a.k.a. long term, 30-year) averages. The average high last month was 80.1 degrees; the climatological average is 81. The average low last month was 59.3 degrees; the climatological average is 60. But how we got to those numbers is what made August 2013 a little out of the ordinary.The first half of the month, left us wondering what happened to summer. The first sixteen days were cooler than average; we had only two 80 degree days -- and on both of those, the temp topped out at 80 on the nose. On one day, we didn't even get out of the 60s, and on a second, we had to scratch our way to make it to 70 degrees. The average high for the first sixteen days of August was 76.6 degrees, about six degrees cooler than average. Then, right as we were wondering what had happened to Summer, our weather did an about face. Seven of the final fifteen days of the month were warmer than average; a couple of those days had high temps in the lower 90s with a Heat Index in the upper 90s -- even 100 degrees on the 27th in Three Rivers. Where the first half of the month was cooler than average by about six degrees, the second half of the month (avg. high 83.9 degrees) was warmer by about three degrees. The result: as a whole, the monthly average temperature (80.1 degrees) was only one degree cooler than average. The low temperature variation from first half of the month to second and from the climatological average wasn't as notable. The average low temperature last month was 59.3 degrees; the climatological average is 60.Last month's rainfall was also a bit of an oddity. The month was wet; we measured 5.21" of rain which is about 50% above average. But 95% of that fell on just three days. So, most of the month was dry. We had just two days with measurable rainfall in the last 18 days, totaling .66". If you're wondering why your lawn and/or garden seems to be in need of a little water, now you know why. Considering sunshine, August is -- of course -- one of our sunnier months. And last month didn't disappoint. We saw about 66% of available sunshine, which is close to what is typical for August.