GARRETT’S BLOG: Does A Hot March Equal A Hot Summer?
I’ve been asked this dozens of times, and I’ve often wondered it myself. If this is how hot it is in March and early April, is our summer going to be brutal? The best way to predict the future weather is to see how the weather played out in the past.
We pulled some data from the last two weeks that showed seasons where a hot March actually ended up with a cooler than normal summer! This week, the National Weather Service office in Tulsa that serves our area released a similar climate snapshot that showed how a hot March sometimes means a colder summer.
Records go back in Fort Smith 129 years and about half that in Northwest Arkansas. Fayetteville’s record goes back 62 years. The Fort Smith record goes back farther so it’ll be better to look at since it’s a larger sample size.
Of the 10 hottest March months, all but 3 of the following summers were COLDER than normal. And out of 129 years the “warmer” summers ranked low; only 17th, 42nd, & 50th. None of the top 10 hottest March months translated into a hotter than normal summer.
The overall pattern is influenced more by the North Atlantic Oscillation global weather pattern. Or La Nina / El Nino. Those patterns alter the course of the jet stream which can cause extended ridges or troughs to develop over North America resulting in temperature anomalies. As we transition from a strong La Nina to weak El Nino, we could actually expect a near normal summer or below normal. But as you know, our weather is anything but normal but if the trend is on our side; this summer won’t be as bad as many of us think.