Why this summer has been so (comparatively) nice

Why this summer has been so (comparatively) nice

It's been a strange summer. You've probably been caught in late-afternoon thunderstorms that came out of nowhere. And just last weekend we barely bade it out of the 60's one day.

El Nino is the warming of ocean waters in the Pacific near the equator--which has started, but is not affecting East Texas yet. That means what's causing this "pleasant" summer is still up for debate.

Inside the National Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford is always watching a bank of computer screens. He's in charge of drought coordination for texas. He's also responsible for figuring out weather that goes beyond CBS 19's 7-day forecast.

"We haven't seen temperatures like this this late in July in over a century," he said of last weekend's weather.

Every day Hansford looks at things like soil moisture, the gulf stream, humidity and rainfall.

For years East Texas was under La Nina--the opposite of El Nino--and the culprit behind our excessively dry and excessively hot summers.

"The prolonged episodes of drought have really dictated the weather patterns across East Texas, whereas now we've been out of drought for almost a year now so we're really settling into a more tranquil period," Hansford said.

In other words we've just forgotten what a "normal" summer is like. However, a high of 72 degrees on a late July weekend is not normal.

Hansford can tell what was happening in the atmosphere at the time to make it possible. But even he doesn't know why.

"You're asking me if there really is an answer to this and honestly I can say there is not," he said.

What he can do is look at the past to see what happens next with a summer like this. With the computer models disagreeing on whether El Nino even finishes materializing, Hansford says it's looking like a colder than average winter with more precipitation than usual.

So unless you're from Alaska you'd better brace yourself.


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