From the Institute for Climate Education at A-B Tech: The story of this summer has certainly been that of climate extremes. In Western North Carolina, we’ve had quite a bit of rain while well over half of the lower 48 states remain in drought. Our moist summer has produced jungle-like conditions in many of our yards (errr … maybe just mine), but has also produced some breathtaking sunsets with all the moisture in the air.
It’s not uncommon to see fog in the valleys during the morning hours, but this image of valley fog looking north toward the North Carolina/Tennessee state line is from Monday evening (8/6/12) following the heavy rainfall throughout the area.
You may have read that NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center just released data that puts this July as the hottest month on record for the U.S. with the average temperature of 77.6° F, besting the previous record set in July of 1936 by 0.2 degrees July in Asheville was hotter than normal as well, with the average monthly temperature of 76.8°. That is 3° warmer than our July normal.
So what is a climatological “normal”? Simply put:A normal is the average value over the previous three decades. For example, when you hear that the normal high temperature for today is 84°, that means that during the time period of 1981-2010, the average high temperature on Aug. 9 was 84°. The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville calculates the normals for locations across the county every 10 years — using the previous three decades. Beginning in the year 2021, we will be using normals that were calculated over the time period of 1991-2020.
We will continue to add rain in area rain gauges over the next several days, but a cold front is expected to move through the area on Saturday, helping to clear out the skies. This should set us up for a nice opportunity to view the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower on Saturday night! Find a dark location away from city lights, give your eyes time to adjust to the night and look to the northeast. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every August when the Earth moves through the debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle and it’s a good year to view the meteors without interference from the moon which won’t rise until after 2:00 A.M.
Be aware of the potential for severe weather ahead of this weekend’s cold front, and enjoy the meteor shower (you may want to take a jacket)!
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