2017-08-24 / Front Page

What heat? County stays pleasant

Cool temps prevail

While much of the country sweltered this summer in heat, Leelanau County was basking in pleasantness.

The term “good sleeping weather” has been heard often.

“It’s been much more pleasurable than last year,” said Chris McCann, director of golf and general manager of Northport Creek Golf Course. “If the temperature is above 80, we don’t get much play here.

“People are on the beach, in a boat or looking for air conditioning.”

The highest temperature recorded at two National Weather Service (NWS) recognized stations in the county was 87 degrees, and that was way back on June 11. The high mark was reached at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NMHRC) in Bingham Township.

Northport, known to be cooler than other points in the county because of Lake Michigan’s greater climatic affect, hit the 80-degree mark only three times in June, twice in July, and twice so far in August. The high mark this summer recorded at an automated weather station located near Northport was 84 degrees, also on June 11.

In fact, it’s been more than five years since the temperature in Northport hit 90 degrees. That occurred on July 5, 2012, according to a data base kept by the National Weather Service.

“It’s really weird,” Hort center director Nikki Rothwell said. “It seems like it been a cool summer and it has been compared to the last couple summers. But it’s actually been pretty normal.”

The center uses degrees days to measure accumulated warmth using 42 and 50 degrees as a base. Through this week, 2,739 degree days have accumulated at the center, base 42. The 27-year average is 2,773.

The same is true at base 50 with 1,755 degree days, just 55 degrees short of the 27-year average of 1,810.

NWS meteorologist Jeff Zoltowski observed the same.

“Looking back, it never really got hot,” he said. “But we didn’t have many cool nights and that kept our overall temperatures pretty close to normal.”

The “normal” weather of the past three months is in sharp contrast to historic sweltering heat that dominated the Pacific Northwest the first week or so of August.

The heat was brought on as the result of a ridge of high pressure that pushed the Pacific jet stream into Canada effectively shutting off nature’s air conditioner in that region.

With temperatures predicted to head toward a coolness normally reserved for fall, it’s quite possible that temperatures will not rise to 90 degrees this summer. The NWS is predicting high temperatures in Lake Leelanau of 64 degrees tomorrow and 67 degrees Saturday, with highs of 73 degrees to 74 degrees Sunday through Tuesday.

But don’t put your swim trunks away yet.

The NWS prediction center is calling for somewhat warmer than normal temperatures for September, October and November. This continues a recent trend.

“Summer wants to hand on a little longer and winter starts a little later,” Zoltowski said. “There’s still time and we could hit 90 well into September.”

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