Ed's Almanac

Sep 23, 2011 1:06 PM by Ed McIntosh

Ed's Almanac: 2011 Summertime Summary

The fall equinox occurred at 3:04 a.m. MDT this morning. This makes today...September 23rd, 2011... The first day of fall.

After a cool and very wet spring, our summer of 2011 turned out to be a little warmer and a lot drier than normal. Despite the slightly warmer than normal temperatures...the heat was not extreme, with no 100 degree days at Miles City, and only one at Billings and Sheridan.Increased soil moisture due to the wet spring likely contributed to the lack of extreme temperatures. High pressure dominated over the Northern Rockies for significant periods of time, resulting in the relatively dry conditions in the atmosphere.

The Billings office of the National Weather Service, summarized our summer 2011 temperatures and precipitation. Dates used for summer are June 21 through September 22. Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation in inches.

The average Billings temperature through the summer was 71.0 degrees, ranking it as the 12th warmest summer since records were started at Billings Logan Field in the 1930's. The 30 year average summertime temperatures in Billings is 1.7 degrees cooler than this year, at 69.3 degrees. The highest average summer temperature was 74.4 in 1936. Total precipitation at the airport was 3.08 inches, or a little better than half inch less than the average over the past 30 years. Our driest summer on record in Billings was only 0.60 inches in 2003, during our long stretch of drought.

For Miles City, the temperature through the summer averaged 71.1 degrees, ranking it as the 30th warmest summer. This is only 0.2 of a degree warmer than the 30 year average. The highest average summer temperature in Miles City was 75.4 in 1998. Total precipitation for Miles City was 2.59 inches, well below the 4.16 inches that is the average over the past 30 years. For Miles City, the driest summer on record was only 0.74 inches, also in 2003.

Finally, for Sheridan, Wyoming, the temperature averaged 67.2 degrees, ranking it as the 25th warmest summer since records were started. That is exactly one degree cooler than the average between 1981 and 2010. The highest average summer temperature for Sheridan was 72.0 in 1936. Total precipitation was 1.67 inches, or only 49 percent of the 3.42 that is typical . The driest summer on record in Sheridan was 1.31 inches in 1988, the year of the Yellowstone National Park wildfires.

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