While not record-breaking – at least not yet – this has been a long, hot and dry summer across the WBTV viewing area.
As of early August, Charlotte is running a rain deficit of more than 6 inches, year-to-date. Coupled with the lack of rain, the heat has been intense. There have only been a handful of records thus far, but consistently, afternoon highs in Charlotte have exceeded 90° (or more) better than 50 times this summer season.
If you are wondering, the record for 90°+ days in the Queen City stands at 88 occurrences during the summer season of 1954. But as recently as 2010, the brutal threshold was reached 87 times.
There's an old saying in the weather forecasting business: "the trend is your friend."
Quite simply, what that means is that what has happened of late is likely to continue to happen.
And so, looking forward, based on my experience and the model data I'm monitoring, it seems unlikely we are soon to switch over to a cooler and/or wetter pattern (see the attached graphics). The one-month and three-month forecasts generally agree that much of the South, including the Carolinas, will continue to experience hot and dry conditions.
Sure, occasional thunderstorms are likely to blow through the WBTV viewing area, but that's not how droughts are broken. What's missing in the equation is a connection to the tropics. Of the 42 inches of precipitation the Charlotte area generally receives on an annual basis, about one-quarter of that – fully 10 inches – can be directly attributed to dying tropical cyclones drifting northward across the Carolinas from the Gulf of Mexico.
More than two months into the 2105 Atlantic hurricane season, that's an event that has yet to happen even once.
And frankly, while we're spreading bad news (I'm just the messenger, LOL), the updated seasonal forecasts from a plethora of hurricane experts all suggest a below-average peak to the tropical season (mid-August through late September).
Of course, it only takes one or two storms to change the talk from drought to flood, so we'll keep our eyes on the situation, but a steady, week-long gentle rain sure would hit the spot right about now!