Summer eases in, but temperatures will rise this weekend
Turn on the grill and get in the pool - today is the first official day of summer. We'll enjoy the longest amount of daylight, with sunrise at 5:35 a.m. and sunset at 8:41 p.m.
Summer began at 1:04 a.m. today without much fanfare. The low temperature overnight was forecast to be in the mid-50s, which is average for this time of year, while the high today should hit 80. This follows suit with the past three months, when temperatures and precipitation were close to normal following a chilly March.
That's not to say the area missed out on some wild weather this spring. It didn't.
On June 10, 2 to 3 inches of rain fell - most of it in a two-hour time period - causing flash flooding in streets and some damage to homes in the Shamokin-Coal Township area. Also, sustained winds of 25 mph played havoc with the Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts in Shamokin on May 25. And the day before that, local athletes competed in temperatures in the low 50s with winds gusting to 37 mph at the first day of the PIAA state track and field championships in Shippensburg.
Harrisburg, the closest National Weather Service (NWS) climate reporting station to this area, reported the average monthly temperature in April, May and the first-half of June was .4 degrees above normal. The highest temperature was 91 degrees on May 31 and the lowest was 25 on April 4. Precipitation in that timeframe totaled 7.79 inches, 1.26 inches below normal.
Northumberland County Conservation District Manager Judy Becker said her office has not heard many rumblings from farmers as far as the recent weather, which she said is a good thing.
"When it comes to that type of industry, every day is day-to-day, especially the way the weather has been," Becker said. "There are times you get a ton of rain, and periods of time you don't get anything. It's like feast or famine."
According to a climate report issued June 20 by the NWS Climate Prediction Center, there is an "equal chance" for above normal, normal and below normal readings for precipitation and temperatures in Pennsylvania during July, August and September.
That's not much to go on, but Becker said she doesn't put too much stock into weather forecasts more than three days out anyway. She recommends to farmers to plan around rainy days, but to keep in mind there's always the potential for flooding rains.
She said there have been several heavy rain events the past few years, including the Flood of 2011, which, among many things, caused agricultural issues, stream bank erosion and a significant about of sediment to enter local waterways.
But today's first day of summer will be dry. And it will also introduce a period of warm weather, with highs forecast by NWS to hit 87 Sunday and Monday.