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By Bob Valen 

June teased with heat and rain

Weather Watcher


This is a Centennial Year, and I doubt anyone has thought about celebrating with parades, picnics and fireworks. The event, a world-changing event in fact, is something we mortal folks don’t want to experience ever. The year 1816 is known as the “Year without Summer” and the cause was unknown for nearly a century. Finally, with scientific research and historic records, a determination was made that the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in the spring of 1815 created the year without summer.

The news of this event did not travel fast; it was pre-telegraph and telephone and 24-hour news channels. What did travel was the massive amount of ash from the eruption into our upper atmosphere, where it lingered for some time.

Mount Tambora was located in the Dutch East Indies, in the region called Indonesia today. The eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 7 on a scale of 1 to 8. The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption was classified a 5. This eruption was a super-colossal event that ejected immense amounts of volcanic ash high into the upper atmosphere. It was the planet’s largest eruption since the Hatepe eruption in 180 A.D.

There were global crop failures across the planet. Populations were forced to migrate, seeking locations that could sustain human life. Normal rain seasons were disrupted and great floods occurred. Riots occurred because of the lack of food. Here in North America, a newspaper in Connecticut stated the following about the summer of 1816: “It is now the middle of July, and we have not yet had what could properly be called summer. Easterly winds have prevailed for nearly three months past … the sun during that time has generally been obscured and the sky overcast with clouds; the air has been damp and uncomfortable, and frequently so chilling as to render the fireside a desirable retreat.”

Time to move on from apocalyptic news and review the weather for June.

June teased us with some warm weather. I measured seven days with temperatures above 90° F and one day over the 100° mark. The high temperature here at the home weather station was 102.3° on June 6. The low was 38.9° on the 14th. The mean for this June was 67.7 while the all-time mean is 65.5°. No records were broken for high or low temperatures. Precipitation was above our all-time mean of 1.04 inches at 1.7 inches. June 24 brought us the most rain as I measured 0.78. The largest single day of rainfall was in 1996 with 2.31 inches.

Reviewing the Climate Prediction Center’s data for the next few weeks, it would appear that we will continue with cool temperatures and slightly above-normal precipitation. Looking further out, the heat of summer should appear, and dry weather will be sustained.

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