The summer that wasn’t: Mild, wet weather part of persistent pattern that almost set Centre County records

If it seemed like summer never came this year, it wasn’t your imagination.

By Chris Rosenblum September 2, 2014


From June to August, the Joel N. Myers Weather Center at Penn State recorded 18.43 inches of rain, making the summer the second-wettest on record locally. The most precipitation during the stretch, 19.83 inches, fell in 2003.

On top of that, August had only four days with high temperatures of 80 degrees or more — the lowest August total since local weather data started being kept in 1893.

“Especially in terms of high temperatures, it was very cool,” said Steve Seman, a lecturer with Penn State’s meteorology department.

Seman said the average high temperature for the month, 75.1 degrees, was the second-coldest registered by Penn State, two-tenths of a degree from the record set in 1915.

“It was mostly a persistent weather pattern where we got regular intrusions of air from Canada,” he said.

But August’s average daily temperature was only 2.8 degrees below the 118-year seasonal mean, a product of an average daily low, 58.2 degrees, that was only slightly colder “than middle of the pack,” Seman said.

Overall locally, that produced the 18th-coldest August.

“It was the summer that never was, except when you went out in the middle of the night,” said Bill Syrett, a senior meteorology lecturer and manager of Penn State’s weather center.

During the season, it rained consistently: 4.87 inches in June, slightly above average for the month locally; 6.6 inches in July, the fourth-most precipitation for the month; and 6.96 inches in August, the eighth-most for the month.

More than just one rainy month made it an unusual summer, Syrett said.

“Ask anybody who had to cut the grass,” he said. “That’s how you can really tell. Nobody’s grass died.”

Though Tuesday brought more rain, September initially looks as though it may bring more typical rainfall and warmer weather, Syrett said.

“The odds of a warmer-than-average September slightly outweigh the odds of colder or normal weather,” he said.

That could change, however, if Centre County gets another thunderstorm early in the month after the one predicted for Saturday.

“If we do,” Syrett said, “then we’re still continuing the same weather pattern.”

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