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September 4, 2013

Salem weather was unusually cool in August

This year, our August temperatures overall were considerably cooler than average. There wasn’t one day when the mercury climbed to the 90-degree mark. In the past 34 years, we have had only four months of August when the temperature did not reach 90 degrees. Where were the Dog Days?

We had just 2.36 inches of rain, more than an inch below average for August. Most of the rain occurred on the 9th, giving us over an inch and a half in downpours. There were three days with thunderstorms.

Summer is quickly passing by, and September has arrived. At the beginning of the month, our daytime high temperatures usually climb into the upper 70s, while dropping to low 60s by sunrise. We will experience a noticeable decline in temperature toward month’s end, with highs reaching the mid-60s and dropping to the low 50s by sunrise. Some warm days will continue, however, for those on their well-needed vacations.

Checking back on our records for the past 34 years, we experienced our highest September temperature of 98 degrees in 2007. On the other hand, our lowest temperature was a very chilly 33 degrees in 1991.

Usually our rainfall for September is about 3.5 inches. However, we have had as much as 8.48 inches in 1987. By contrast, we had a very dry September in 1978, when we received only 0.65 inches of rain.

So far this season, there has been very little tropical storm activity, despite the warmer ocean temperatures. Strong tropical storms and hurricanes are still not out of the question, however. Many older folks remember 75 years ago, when the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 ravaged our six-state region. The destruction was unprecedented.

Arthur A. Francis is a Salem meteorologist.

SALEM IN AUGUST

Temperature

High: 88 degrees

Low: 48 degrees

Average: 69.5 degrees

Peak wind gust: 36 mph on the 4th

Rainfall: 2.36 inches

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