SACRAMENTO — Despite this week’s tease, the hot afternoons that were prevalent in California in July will likely continue in August.
The summer furnace was in high gear throughout the Central Valley until last weekend, when monsoon moisture and upper-level disturbances brought welcome rainfall that made its way up from Southern California as the days progressed.
While monsoon conditions could bring more weather systems in the next few weeks, the federal Climate Prediction Center foresees hotter-than-normal temperatures to linger over the next three months.
“If you look at the August outlook, it’s calling for above-average temperatures and equal chances of above- or below-average precipitation in interior Northern California,” said Michelle Mead, a National Weather Service warning coordinator here.
While the clouds, moisture and cooler temperatures helped firefighters battle more than a dozen wildfires raging around the state, Mead said the change had nothing to do with El Nino conditions that are anticipated for this winter.
“This is just the typical monsoon season, and we were lucky enough to get a weather system in our neck of the woods,” she said.
The cool break followed a July in which some Central Valley cities, including Redding and Fresno, averaged above 100 degrees for the month, according to the weather service. Redding saw 20 afternoons in triple digits, including 12 days in the first two weeks, and Fresno registered 18 days of triple-digit heat.
The heat has accelerated development of some crops. For instance, the Nonpareil almond harvest started last week in Sutter and Yuba counties after having begun in earnest in the southern San Joaquin Valley, reported the National Agricultural Statistics Service office here.
Cling peach harvest is ahead of schedule in Sutter and Yuba counties and growers believe they’ll be finished by mid-August, NASS reported. And Alfalfa grew with the warm weather, enabling cutting, windrowing and baling to continue apace, according to the agency.
Many farmers hold out hope that a developing El Nino atmospheric pattern in the Pacific Ocean will mean a wet winter. Ocean-surface temperatures have been increasing in the equatorial region, which has enhanced tropical rainfall and pushed the chances of El Nino persisting in the Northern Hemisphere this fall and winter to 80 percent, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
However, models portend a weak to low-moderate El Nino, which “does not mean more rain for Northern California,” Mead cautioned. For its part, the Climate Prediction Center so far only envisions above-average precipitation in the southern third of the state over the next three months.
Here are the average high temperatures in July and their comparisons to the last two years for selected California cities, according to the National Weather Service.
Redding: July 2014, 100.6 degrees; July 2013, 102.2 degrees; July 2012, 97.2 degrees
Sacramento: 2014, 92.7 degrees; 2013, 93.4 degrees; 2012, 91.2 degrees
Stockton: 2014, 94.5 degrees; 2013, 94.6 degrees; 2012, 92.6 degrees
Modesto: 2014, 95.2 degrees; 2013, 96.6 degrees; 2012, 94 degrees
Salinas: 2014, 72 degrees; 2013, 70.5 degrees; 2012, 69.6 degrees
Fresno: 2014, 101.2 degrees; 2013, 102.7 degrees; 2012, 98.7 degrees