Quiet. That’s the best way to describe our spring weather so far. I’ve heard people, myself included, complain about the pollen and ensuing sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes. Puffs must love this time of year.
It’s the rain that we curse after days and days of it during spring, but it does clean the air if only for a few days. Believe it or not, we didn’t get a ton of rain this year, barely over three inches from April 1 through the middle of May. Rain’s colder brother, snow, made a quick exit this year. We finished out the year with about a foot over the climatological average, yet the 2004-5 snow season saw the third earliest ending. Our last measurable snowfall came early in the day on March 24, which certainly beats May 18, 2002 if you’re not a big fan of a dose of late season snows.
Now that we’re into the month of June it’s time to bust out the grill and plan trips to the lake. And I promise not to mention snow until its’ time comes again.
June is a great month for warm weather fans in the Capital Region. We’re out of the woods as far as cold mornings and cool days go; yet the humidity usually steers clear for another month. Graduations pop up like so many flowers and tomato plants. Fishing starts to get good. Wedding bells toll every weekend. Golf courses are like crowded missile ranges with incoming shots from many a six-iron. All of this, like so many things, sink or swim based on the weather.
One of my favorite things about June is the summer solstice. It’s the first official day of summer in the northern hemisphere and it occurs at 2:46am on the 21st. We’ll see 15 hours and 19 minutes of sunshine, making it the second longest day of the year. Incidentally, the longest days of the year are June 19, 20, 23 and 24 each with 15:20. Cultures around the world have and continue to celebrate this day, as it is symbolic of warmth, good fortune and what will hopefully be a fruitful growing season.
The weather for June can be volatile, but a lot less so than other months can be around here. Average highs range from the mid 70s to the low 80s from the 1st to the 30th, with lows staying in the 50s. June has also seen its share of heat—every record high is in the 90s, with the exception of 100 degrees on June 9, 1933. June can also be rather cool at times…record lows range from 35 on the 1st to 47 on the 30th.
Thunderstorms can also be seen in June, to the tune of one every six days as far as averages go. I talked about storms at length last month, but I want to remind you to get inside a house, or a car if no houses are around, when a storm is approaching. If neither is applicable and you’re out in the open, crouch down on the balls of your feet and make yourself as small as possible. When you see lightning, start counting seconds (I say Mississippi, because it takes about a second to say that state’s name). For every five count, the strike is one mile away.
If you want to win a bet this summer, repeat after me: there is no such thing as heat lightning. Meteorologically speaking, all lightning is created from heat. But you’ll find a barstool meteorologist who will tell you up and down that the lightning you see in the distance on a summer’s eve, that isn’t followed by thunder, is known as heat lightning. I’d love to find the origin of that phrase. Remember the 5-1 rule? It is also applicable here. If you see lightning and hear no thunder, it is only because the energy (sound of thunder) has dissipated before it hit your ears. Think of it this way —if Bob throws a rock off of a dock in Sandy Bay, Lake George, the rock will cause ripples, or waves. Betty is standing on Dome Island with huge binoculars and she sees Bob toss the rock, yet she sees no ripples hit the water. Does that mean that the rock didn’t cause any ripples? Of course not, they were just absorbed by the lake. Sound waves and water waves travel in much the same manner. Just make sure that you’re getting as much as you can out of your bet, a la PT Barnum.
If you ever have any questions on thunderstorms or anything for that matter, please feel free to drop me an email.
Next month, we’ll talk about the hot July weather. The 4th and track season will be here before you know it!
Jason Gough is a meteorologist with NewsChannel 13. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.