With Labor Day weekend behind us and meteorological fall now underway, it’s worth a look back at the summer of 2016’s record drought and abundance of sunshine. Starting on Memorial Day weekend and ending on Labor Day, there are 14 weekends to enjoy summer. It seemed like nearly all of those weekend had at least some sunshine.

As I started to dig into the data, I was surprised at several things. Obviously we are in a drought, so the lack of total rainfall for the summer wasn’t a shock. During meteorological summer, Boston received only 3.92 inches of rainfall—or about six and a half inches less than one would typically expect. Another way to think about the summer rain in Boston: there was about a month’s worth of rainfall during a three month period. That’s dry.

This was the driest summer on record in Boston, but not as dry in other climate locations in New England.This was the driest summer on record in Boston, but not as dry in other climate locations in New England. —NOAA
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Here’s what’s interesting, however: out of those 14 summer weekends, there was measurable rainfall during part of at least seven of them.  Of course, the rain that fell was so light and brief that we really never thought of any of the weekends as being rainy besides July 8th-10th, when it remained cloudy with some light rain on and off throughout the weekend. August was particularly hot and dry.

August 2016 was at or near the top warmest on recordAugust 2016 was at or near the top warmest on record. —NOAA

There were 23 days between June 1st and August 31st when at least some rain fell. This is about the same number of rainy days we’ve seen since 2014, when the dry pattern really began to set up.

Now that fall is here it’s time for hikes in the woods, apple picking, football and other cooler weather activities.  Of course all of these are easier done with sunny dry weather, so will this pattern continue? It’s impossible for me to say whether the next 12 weekends—which take us to Thanksgiving—are going to be dry. However, September and October often bring some of the longest stretches of dry weather of the entire year. If we don’t get a tropical system, we often need to wait until the wetter month of November before we see day-long rain storms.

The slow dry pattern of summer is showing signs of transitions with more frequent chances of rain showers in the coming three weeks.

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Presently, I don’t see a pattern that becomes blocked bringing us days of rain, rather just a day of showers followed by more dry weather.  The loop below shows the chance of showers every few days into the third week of this month.

via GIPHY

What is quite clear is that temperatures will likely average above normal through the rest of this month and into October.

Keep the beach gear handy, you’ll still be able to use it.

September has a high likelihood of warm weather in New England.September has a high likelihood of warm weather in New England. —NOAA