“The point is we just really didn’t have a bad summer. This really was not nearly as bad as some of the summers we’ve had in the past few years.” Barry Keim, state climatologist
If it seems like summer just got here and is already on the way out, it might be because this summer was slightly milder than others south Louisiana residents have endured in recent years.
Average temperatures for June, July and August weren’t dramatically lower than they have been in past years. The difference seems to be a lack of extreme temperatures along with more rainy days in the area. The pattern was similar in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette, with seasonal, but not extraordinary, temperatures through the summer months.
“There are really no serious extremes and no runs of really, really bad temperatures,” said Barry Keim, state climatologist. “The temperatures don’t really jump off the page at you.”
For example, Baton Rouge June temperatures had highs of 93 to 95 degrees from the 11th through the 17th. “But still, these are not that oppressive,” Keim said.
Then there were days where the high temperature was only 83 degrees and there were a significant number of days where the temperature never made it to 90 degrees.
The dew points, which combine with temperatures to create a heat index of how hot it feels to a person outside, were also about average for this time of year without any extremes.
July and August repeated the pattern.
“No triple digits,” Keim said about temperatures for the three months. In fact, there were relatively few days that saw temperatures in the upper 90s.
Of the whole three months, the only bad stretch was from about Aug. 2-10.
“But again, these are not really bad summer temperatures,” he said.
In addition, by the end of August, the dew point measurements were in the 60s which is lower than expected for that time of the year when the dew point is usually in the 70s.
“The point is we just really didn’t have a bad summer,” Keim said. “This really was not nearly as bad as some of the summers we’ve had in the past few years.”
Another part of the reason this summer has seemed to be milder than normal is the how many days saw at least some rain in south Louisiana.
South Louisiana has been going through drought conditions the last three or four summers with lower than average rainfall, which means more full sun days which helps drive up the temperature. Without rain, the temperature can continue to rise throughout the day rather than cooling off with mid afternoon thunderstorms.
This year, while the area is easing into drought conditions, the pattern of at least some rainfall on multiple days has been near normal.
Rainfall at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan airport measured 6.47 inches in June, 4.65 inches in July and 3.36 inches in August — a little below average.
“The rainfall totals weren’t all that high, but we had a lot of rain days,” Keim said.
In Baton Rouge, there were about 10 days of at least some rain each month — meaning there was rain and cloudy skies on an average of about one day out of every three, he said.
“Being in direct sun and under those clouds makes a big difference,” Keim said.
Keim said he thinks the really bad summers are made up of a few days, or a stretch of bad days, that get etched into people’s minds. This summer hasn’t provided those extended bad experiences and now the season is on the downward slope.
“The worst of the summer is in the rearview mirror,” Keim said.