By Frank Turner
For farmers, the growing season this summer has been unusually rainy, causing difficulty in the managing and planting of their crops.
As August approaches, National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Simosko said that he expects the downpour trend to continue in southwest North Dakota.
“In August, your region experiences an accumulative 1.04 inches of precipitation for the month,” he said. “Right now the outlook map indicates a slight chance for above average precipitation.”
In addition to extra rain, Simosko said that the outlook also calls for below average temperatures.
So what is the average temperature for the region?
According to National Weather Service data, the average high for the month of August is 82.9 degrees and the average low is 54.2 degrees.
Simosko explained that the above average precipitation and lower temperatures are likely correlated.
More cloud cover and the presence of rain conditions usually leads to cooler days.
“Cooler temperatures and precipitation go hand in hand,” he said.
The meteorologist also attributed the cooler temperature to a northern jet stream.
“For the month of August, it looks like there is a northwesterly jet stream that will push air from the west coast, through Canada, and into the Midwest region,” he said.
It’s also important to note that monthly outlook maps are still limited in what they can tell meteorologists.
When looking at an outlook map, meteorologists cannot tell how much the weather is going to be above or below the average.
Instead, the outlook indicates the percentage chance that conditions will be above or below average.
“As we look into the month of August, it’s not necessarily a prediction so much as an outlook,” he explained.
As for extreme weather, Simosko said that there is no direct way to tell this early whether the southwest region will continue to experience tornados and hail.
With tornadoes touching down in the region, Simosko said that it’s important to stay informed. Even still, disaster storms and tornadoes are hard to predict.
“Generally speaking, there is no way to know from a monthly outlook whether there are conditions that would favor extreme weather,” he said.
“Sometimes we don’t know that extreme weather conditions are present until a day before.”
Even though it’s not clear whether August will favor extreme weather condition, the meteorologist said that August is still a time that can have hail and tornado events.
“Usually it’s not until late September that the risk for extreme weather starts to significantly drop.”
For now, remember to keep a rain jacket and umbrella on hand, because the region will likely continue to experience even more rain.