August ended on a slightly cooler note. However, the month has turned out to be the abnormally warm, the 5th hottest August since 1889 (124 years of records) and tied for the 22nd hottest month of all for Bakersfield. Heat Wave #4 lasted 17 days marking the second longest heat wave in the past 20 years.
It now appears we will be shifting gears a bit. Cooler weather is expected for September as the big ridge of high pressure that dominated our weather for most of August retreats to the east again. More cold fronts with westerly winds are forecast to develop and marine surges will become more common. It normally cools off in September with the waning days of summer, but indications are that the cooling may become more pronounced by the end of the month. Might I issue my “no more 100s” forecast? Not quite yet. This coming week may see triple digits again before moderation and another trough arrive by the end of the holiday shortened work week.
Some good news for all in Kern County and California is the El Nino forecast. As first mentioned last spring, computer models are more confident in the formation of warmer waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. That typically means wetter and cooler weather in the southern half of the United States. Brand new forecasts from the government confirm what I have expected- namely an excellent chance for above normal precipitation during the period December through April. Specifics are still sketchy, but from the vantage point of late August 2012, here is my prediction. Rains will start up about on-time in mid October with cooler than average temperatures from late September on through November. A slightly drier than normal November will be followed by a wetter than average December, January and February. Near normal temperature and rainfall is expected for March with another shot of heavy moisture in April.
So, although it has been excessively hot and dry for August, we have something to look forward to this rainy season that should more than make up for the lack of rainfall recently. The last time Bakersfield and the south valley received above normal precipitation was April. I suspect we will see heavier precipitation again in October and then bountiful rainfall this winter. Heavy snow in the mountains, too.