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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Summer s dog days don t have much bark

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Dennis Bray, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office, said a stagnant ridge of warm air seated in the atmosphere over the West Coast and a cool air trough hovering above the Eastern seaboard have produced cooler than normal days here and some nights that have been downright cold. And no heat waves are in the forecast over the next week.

We don t always have extremely hot summers, but this year, we ve been experiencing below-normal temperatures, Mr. Bray said.

Based on a 30-year temperature average, 83 degrees is the normal high for August in the Toledo area. This year, the average daily high in August has been 76.6 degrees, well below the norm. Mid-July to mid-August tends to register the highest temperatures of the year around here.

So far, the hottest day this summer has been Aug. 3, when the thermometer at Toledo Express Airport officially peaked at 88 degrees a far cry from the 97 degrees of Aug. 8, 2001, the hottest Toledo day in the last five years.

In the last three years, Toledo has averaged above normal temperatures in August and recorded over 90 degrees at least four times each summer.

But an air trough, which is associated with colder air moving southward, has kept the temperatures here lower this summer, said Michael Abir, another National Weather Service meteorologist at the Cleveland-based weather forecasting center. Troughs and ridges are long-wave air systems that are constantly moving around the northern hemisphere.

If a long-wave pattern stops moving, then it creates the cool temperatures we ve been experiencing, he said.

The cooler temperatures are having a noticeable impact at area swimming pools and beaches.

We did not open all of last week because of the weather, said Karen Rodriguez, the aquatic supervisor at Olander Park in Sylvania, where 100 to 200 people visit on a good day. She said that unless the air temperature registers at least 70 degrees, the beach is not opened.

This has been the worst summer for us because we have had so many early closings due to low temperatures, said Ms. Rodriguez. Our college-age lifeguards have not had an opportunity to make money this summer.

At the Perrysburg Municipal Pool, the past couple of weeks have been really low in attendance, said Lori Riegler, the manager. She said the pool is open everyday, no matter what the temperature is because the city has no set temperature limit.

We have been open everyday, even though we didn t have people coming to swim, said Ms Riegler.

The good news is that the cool summer temperatures will likely have little or no bearing on what the temperatures will be this fall and winter, said Gary Garnet, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service s forecast office.

Seasonal forecasting is tough business, he said. Certain trends you get during certain seasons of the year ... are not indicators of future weather patterns.

The severity of the temperatures in the fall and winter months, he said, can in most instances be gauged by the strength of El Ni o a warm water current off the coast of South America.

There has been a lot of research showing that when the El Ni o waters are warm, we tend to have a warmer and drier winter here in the Midwest, said Mr. Garnet. If the waters are not warm, we just don t know what will happen, he said.

Even though officials at the forecasting center said they cannot say at this point what kind of winter we can expect, Mr. Bray assured that we will have a hot summer again.

Contact Karamagi Rujumba atkrujumba@theblade.comor 419-724-6050.



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