With temperatures breaking 90 degrees on several days throughout the summer so far, it appears our summer will continue to be a sweltering one. We caught up with Kyle Elliott, director of the Weather Information Center, to find out what the summer has in store for us.
Q. How severe can we expect the weather to be this summer?
This summer is off to a fast start. Heat will likely come in spurts this summer, with the second half of the summer (mid-July through August) being hotter than the first half. As is typical in summer, we will see frequent bouts of showers and thunderstorms with any cold fronts that move through the region. In southeastern Pennsylvania, flooding downpours and damaging wind gusts are the most common threats from severe thunderstorms, but large hail and isolated tornadoes are also possible. In fact, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF1 tornado was responsible for the damage in Kirkwood on May 27th. This was the first confirmed tornado in Lancaster County since 2019.
Q. What kinds of weather should we be on the lookout for this summer?
The thing that stands out to me about this summer is how active the hurricane season may be. We are going to be in a weak-to-moderate La Niña pattern through the summer, and that is conducive to an above-average number of named storms and hurricanes. Just last year, the remnants of Fred and Tropical Storm Ida produced tornadoes and significant flooding across the mid-Atlantic region, and I would not be surprised to see something similar occur later this summer or early in the fall. I am expecting 15-20 named storms this hurricane season, and at least a couple of those storms may make landfall along the East Coast.
Q. Do you have any summer safety tips?
If a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued for your location at any point in the summer, seek shelter immediately in an interior room or basement away from doors and windows. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be in danger of being struck by lightning. In the event of flooding, never drive through roadways covered by water. It’s impossible to determine how much water covers a roadway using only one’s eyesight, so it’s always best to seek an alternate route. It only takes about 2 feet of rushing water to sweep most vehicles away. Avoid traveling near streams, creeks and rivers that can quickly overflow their banks during heavy rain events. During times of excessive heat, remember these safety tips; Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated and mitigate the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Take frequent breaks from the heat in an air-conditioned building and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to replenish electrolytes. Frequently apply sunscreen, and never leave pets or children unattended in a vehicle. It only takes about 30 minutes for the temperature inside a car to reach 120-130 degrees on a 90-95 degree day!
Q. What can people who are planning on going to the beach expect?
For anybody heading to the beach this summer, keep an eye on the tropics! I expect at least several named storms to make landfall in the U.S. this year and spoil vacation plans for some, especially in August and September. Never try to ride out a hurricane at the beach due to the potential for storm surge flooding and significant wind damage. Other than tropical systems, beachgoers should always remember to keep an eye out for pop-up showers and thunderstorms, especially during the afternoon and evening hours.
Q. Any summer weather fun facts?
For the first time since 2010, there were four 90-degree days at Millersville in the month of May alone. A fifth 90-degree day occurred on June 1st, so it’s a good bet that we’ll see an above-average number of 90-degree days again this summer.
To stay up to date with Elliott’s forecasts and storm analyses, follow him on Twitter @MUweather.