How dry is it, Boise? Death Valley has had more rain this summer.
As we approach the end of meteorological summer, Boise has already set plenty of weather records this year and is poised to set another.
“This summer in Boise, July was our second warmest ever,” said Stephen Parker, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Boise “And although August is not quite finished yet, it appears to be a slam dunk now that this will be our warmest August ever.”
Parker visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice to talk about Boise’s severe drought, the outlook for September and the difference between “astronomical” and “meteorological” seasons.
“There's actually been more rain in Death Valley than there has been in Boise this summer. They've had 1.2 inches in Death Valley, and we have not had that much here in Boise.”
Read the full transcript below:
GEORGE PRENTICE: It is Morning Edition on Boise State Public Radio News. On a Monday, good morning. I'm George Prentice. The weather and all that it has to offer will once again be a prime topic of conversation this week. So, let's turn to the expert. Stephen Parker is a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Boise. Stephen, good morning.
STEPHEN PARKER: Good morning, George. Thank you for having me on this morning.
PRENTICE: It appears that that summer is not through with us just yet.
PARKER: No, it is not. Unfortunately, I think in most people's opinion, we are going to get warm again this week, especially Wednesday and Thursday. Looks like we could be reaching record high temperatures on those two days. But even as early as today, we'll see highs about seven- to eight degrees above normal…ten degrees above normal Tuesday and then closer to 15 degrees above normal both Wednesday and Thursday.
PRENTICE: And again, we've already hit a new record for… what is it.. the number of days that Boise has been at- or above 100 degrees this year?
PARKER: That's correct. Before this year, the record was 20… and we already have 22 this year. And between Wednesday and Thursday, we could see 23 and 24.
PRENTICE: So long range - because September is later this week - what might we expect as we move into September?
PARKER: Good question. There is a branch of the National Weather Service, the Climate Prediction Center. They do the outlooks for us, everything from something as short as a 6-to-10-day outlooks, all the way out to monthly and seasonal outlooks. And their latest outlook for September calls for slightly better than normal chances of above normal temperatures and also below normal precipitation. So, in other words, more of the same, I think is another way to put that.
PRENTICE: Wow. So, with September brings change. And of course, we're looking at the Labor Day long holiday weekend. But can you talk about the different ways to look at seasons.
PARKER: Sure. I think most folks are familiar with the astronomical seasons; and those are based around the solstice that occurs on or around June 21st and again, the winter solstice that occurs on or around December 22nd, and also the vernal or spring equinox, which happens around March 21st and the autumnal equinox that happens around September 22nd. Those are our official seasons that most people recognize. But back in 1780, the first Professional International Meteorological Association, which was formed in Mannheim, Germany… they came up with a thought of, “Hey, we're starting to take official observations now. We're going to want to have monthly climate statistics going forward. And it would be really nice if these dates didn't change from year to year because those dates for the solstices and equinoxes, those actually change slightly every once in a while.” But they wanted something that was consistent. So, they came up with meteorological seasons; and meteorological winter is December, January, February, then the spring is March, April, May and so forth from there. So, we're just about to head into meteorological fall, which is September, October and November.
PRENTICE: And it does seem logical and, quite frankly, it's easier, no matter how old you are, to wrap your brain around these meteorological seasons.
PARKER: Sure, it fits better with what's known as our civil calendar or the 12 months of the year. And it does allow us to do a whole lot with the statistics, the monthly normals and averages that we kick out. And speaking of monthly normals, this summer,, July was our second warmest ever. And although August is not quite finished yet, it appears to be a slam dunk now that this will be our warmest August ever.
PRENTICE: And the heat keeps coming.
PARKER: One last little factoid about this summer: There's actually been more rain in Death Valley than there has been in Boise this summer. They've had 1.2 inches in Death Valley, and we have not had that much here in Boise.
PRENTICE: Pardon me, while I pick my jaw up from the floor.
PARKER: It’s those things you don't hear about every day.
PRENTICE: Oh, my goodness. Stephen Parker is a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boise. Stephen, thank you so very much for that information and for you and your colleagues for what you do every day and for this morning, thanks for giving us some time.
PARKER: You're more than welcome. It's always a pleasure to speak with you, George.
Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren
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