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Summer 2018: A season of heat, humidity, record rain

August 31, 2018

In one of the few times this summer, Connecticut residents woke up to some cool and comfortable weather conditions Friday morning.

The big change came after a cold front entered the region early Thursday night.

Between 5 and 10 p.m., Danbury saw a 15-degree temperature drop. The coolest temperature was 65 degrees just before 6 a.m. Friday, 21 degrees cooler than Thursday’s high of 86 degrees.

New Haven had a low of 68 degrees Friday morning, 24 degrees chillier than Thursday’s high of 92 degrees Thursday.

Other cool readings across the region Friday morning were 63 in Oxford, 69 in Bridgeport and White Plains airport, near Greenwich.

As we enter the Labor Day weekend - the unofficial end to summer - it’s a good time to look back on what kind of weather we’ve had this season.

It’s been very hot and humid

The combination of hot temperatures and above average rainfall, created very humid conditions for most of the summer.

The steamy weather started in late June with a flow of tropical moisture moving up from the Caribbean. We had rain on most days and oppressive humidity. On June 28, one of the hottest days of the year, two rounds of thunderstorms dropped nearly 4 inches of rain in Norwalk.

By the end of June, rainfall totaled 25.20 inches at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford; 3.82 inches more than average, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Little did we know at the time that record temperatures, high humidity and torrential rainfall would be with us all summer.

Sikorsky Memorial Airport saw its first official heat wave (three consecutive days or 90 of above) from June 29-July 1.

By the end of August, Bridgeport had a dozen days when the thermometer soared to 90 or above. August alone had seven days of 90 or above temperatures at Sikorsky.

Danbury’s only heat wave was from July 1-3. All summer, it had seven days when the temperatures was 90 of above.

New Haven recently had its first official heat wave of the season from Aug. 28-30.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center said Connecticut had its ninth warmest July on record with an average temperature of 83.6 degrees in Bridgeport (1.8 degrees above normal) and 83.2 degrees in Danbury (1.5 higher than average).

In July, there were only three days when the daytime high temperatures was in the 70s; the “coolest” day was on July 7 when the high hit 75 degrees and a chilly 59 at night.

With a few more weeks left in summer, this season is shaping up to be one for the record books, with this month likely to be the warmest August on record, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

“Reminiscent of the start of July, the first half of this month has brought warmer-than-normal temperatures to the Northeast, making it truly feel like summer,” the NRCC said. “Each of the major climate sites in the Northeast had a warmer-than-normal start to August. All but six of the 35 major climate sites ranked the beginning of August among their twenty warmest on record, and 16 of those areas had among their ten warmest on record. Atlantic City, N.J. with an average temperature departure of 6 degees above normal, had a record-warm start to the month.”

From Aug. 1-15, Bridgeport had an average temperature of 79.3 degrees - 4.9 degrees above average, making it the second August on record. Several days of temperatures in the upper 80s and 90s in mid and late August continued to push up our average temperature.

And then there was the rain

On June 19, there were the first signs of a developing drought in parts of Connecticut. U.S. Drought Monitor listed 40 percent of the state as having abnormally dry conditions. By July 19, the dry areas were in 59 percent of the state, mainly in northern Connecticut.

Then the rains came; any concern of a drought was gone.

July turned out to be Connecticut’s 14th wettest July after receiving 135 percent of normal precipitation, according to NRCC. Danbury got the most rain in July with 6.79 inches, nearly 2 inches above average.

According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, the normal amount of rainfall between June 1 and Aug. 19 is around 11 inches.

But days of rain, some with torrential downpours from thunderstorms, produced record totals in those 10 weeks. Woodbury saw 20.79 inches, Ridgefield, 18.99 inches; Bethel, 18.27; Brookfield, 17.61; Shelton, 17.43; Seymour, 15.51 and Norwalk, 15.10 inches.

In August, 17 days out of 30 had measurable rainfall.

The rest of the summer

There will be a return to very warm and quite humid conditions by Monday, with high temperatures near 90.

There could be multiple days where the heat index reaches the mid 90s.

The Climate Prediction Center says from Sept. 7- 13, there is a 70 percent chance the Northeast will have above normal temperatures and precipitation.

More heat, more rain and humidity.

It’s been that kind of sultry summer.

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