Update: We made an error in how we interpreted the data from the North Carolina State Climate Office. The heat index climatology we passed along is based on this image. The units are not labeled and we assumed it was days. The total counts are measured in hours, not days.
– Third warmest summer in 43 years for Gainesville (so far)
– Streak of above normal temperatures is at 15
– No sign of significant change in next 10 days
It’s been a hot summer in Gainesville, even by Florida standards. In fact, based on historical data from the past 43 years at the Gainesville Regional Airport, the 2016 summer currently ranks as the third warmest. It’s even pacing warmer than the summer of 2010, an unusually hot and dry season that many may remember resulted in numerous wildfires across the state. There is no sign that this trend will be reversed, and little evidence to suggest a big cool down is coming anytime soon.
Afternoon temperatures have soared above the average of 91° for an astonishing 15 days in a row. This followed a month when temperatures were above average 21 of the 30 days in June. Even more sweltering is the heat index, or the “feels like” temperature. According to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, one of the few agencies that provide heat index data, there have been a total of 105 days with a heat index above 100 at the Gainesville Regional Airport in 2016.
A persistent ridge of high pressure, one that is normally nearby, has been positioned more directly over the state for long periods of time since late May. As a result of the stronger force of sinking air, afternoon showers and thunderstorms have been less frequent, not as widespread, and arriving later in the day than usual at times. This has resulted in more sunshine, longer periods of daytime heating, and thus warmer than normal temperatures.
Long range forecast data does not suggest significant relief will arrive anytime soon, and the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures for much of the Southeastern U.S. over the next six to ten days.
Your local 10-Day forecast is also a warm one.