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August 2019: Warm with near-normal rainfall, no new temp. records

August 2019 goes into the books as a mostly uneventful and generally pleasant summer month for Nashua. Temperatures were a little warmer than normal, while rainfall was a little below normal.

Vacationers, farmers and anyone engaged in outdoor activities should have been pleased in August. Weather extremes were non-existent across central New England, and the overall weather pattern was favorable to farmers, gardeners and beach-goers alike.

Unlike last year, when heat and excessive humidity plagued the region in August, we saw a jet stream flow more in tune with late summer. Most of the time the jet streams’ position was near or north of the region, but a brief shift to the south allowed for a hint of early fall temperatures during the final week of the month.

Often, we see the early signs of the changing seasons by late August as the Bermuda high begins to weaken a little and the polar jet stream starts to flex its muscle once in a while. The polar vortex begins to expand and grow a little at this time of year across the polar region of the northern hemisphere due to the steady loss of sunshine.

For that reason, we can sometimes experience some delightful summer polar air before the kids head back to school, giving air conditioners a break. It usually doesn’t take long for warmth and higher humidity to take hold again as the subtropical ridge across the southern U.S. inflates one more time.

Lucky, we are New Englanders that do not have to suffer through nearly endless days of 90- and 100-degree temperatures from late May to mid-September. Much of the southern half of our nation does have to deal with such heat all summer long.

Nashua saw temperatures pretty much like we would expect for the final month of summer. The average temperature for the Gate City of 71.1 degrees was 1.5 degrees above normal and ranked as the 21st warmest August out of 127 years with temperature records.

No temperature records were tied or broken and no heat waves were recorded. In fact, only two days saw readings reach 90 degrees, one day less than normal.

Temperatures did not stray all that far from normal on a daily basis during August. Only seven days saw the average temperature more than five degrees from normal, a relatively low number. Extremes were a day at 9 degrees above normal, and one which was 9 degrees below normal.

The peak temperature of 91 degrees was recorded on August 20, while a reading of 47 degrees was observed on the morning of Aug. 27.

The rainfall tally was just a little less than normal in August. The total of 3.46 inches was 0.45 inches below normal. Like July, rains came every few days, keeping lawns and gardens adequately watered through the month.

The August rain total ranked as the 77th driest August out of 136 years of precipitation data for Nashua. As we would expect at this time of year, much of the rainfall came in short, heavy spurts, mostly from showers and thundershowers. The heaviest daily amount was 1.63 inches, recorded on Aug. 29.

No tropical weather systems directly affected New England during August, but moisture from the remains of Tropical Storm Erin did contribute some moisture to the rainfall recorded on Aug. 29.

For New England, we’ve seen a major downturn in hurricane strikes during the past three decades, and this is a good thing. The last hurricane to make landfall was Bob in 1991, 28 years ago. There have been a handful of tropical storms and remnants of former hurricanes that have brought heavy rain and flooding to New England during that time, but no hurricane has made a direct hit on our six-state region.

For comparison, there were 17 hurricane landfalls during the 1900s, 11 of which occurred from 1936 and 1962. Some of these storms were blockbusters as well, including the Hurricane of 1938, the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, Carol in 1954 and Donna in 1960.

From 1850 to 1899, there were nine hurricane strikes on New England. These numbers do not include the weaker tropical storms that also created problems at times.

While we are way overdue for a major hurricane around here, I don’t think anyone would complain if none headed our way anytime soon.

Official summer (June-August) was warm and wet again this year.

Nashua’s average temperature of 71.1 degrees was 2.3 degrees above normal. June and August saw readings a little above normal while July was the fourth warmest of record. Summer’s temperature for Nashua was the fifth warmest out of 125 summers with temperature data.

The summer rainfall total of 15.89 inches was 3.70 inches above normal, tying for eighth place from wettest to driest out of 135 years.

Fourteen days reached 90 or more degrees during the summer, one day more than normal, but far from the record of 33 days set in 1955.

Meteorological fall began Sept. 1, and average temperatures fall about 10 degrees this month. September is the peak month for tropical cyclones to visit New England, but cooler Canadian air also starts to have more of an impact as the month moves along.

This year marks the 81st anniversary of the Great Hurricane of 1938, by far the most destructive storm to strike New England during the past two centuries.

September can bring some of the finest weather of the year with this being the sunniest month by average. Very comfortable temperatures, dry air and infrequent rainfall can make for pleasant outdoor conditions.

Doug Webster of Hudson is a senior meteorologist at Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua.