You might want to hold off on putting away the tank tops and shorts.
If this summer’s constant heat wave has left you dreaming of the first chill of autumn, we have some disappointing news for you: According to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fall 2017 is set to be warmer than average.
In the NOAA report, Dan Collins, meteorologist and seasonal forecaster for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, stated that there is between a 30 and 50 percent chance that temperatures for the month of August, September, and October will be above average. The probability is based upon the fall’s temperature predictions measured against the average temperature recorded from the past three decades, or 1981-2010.
According to a subsequent release from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center—a branch of the NOAA—the southern plains and the Central Mississippi valley have the best chance of average fall weather. However, the northern Rockies, intermountain west, Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, Northeast, and western Alaska will all have the highest chance of a hotter fall than normal.
This outlook is in line with temperatures trending to be higher than usual as a rule, rather than the exception. In fact, this past June was the 41st consecutive June and 390th consecutive month that was warmer than average. Though this year has been less hot than 2016—the second warmest year to date on record—it’s still on its way to be the third hottest year on record. Last year’s heat wave was due in a large part to El Niño, the phenomenon where the surface of the sea warms in the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific, affecting temperatures and precipitation patterns across the globe. According to the report, there is a low chance of El Niño-like conditions that is decreasing over time. Even so, sea surface temperatures remain warmer than average.
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Collins explained in a briefing that the temperature weather averages are affected by August’s high probability for hotter weather across the country. This means that while September and October might end up being cooler than predicted, August is likely to be a scorcher. The good news? You can put off back-to-school clothes shopping for at least another month as the meteorological summer lasts a little longer.