Monday, September 20, 2021
49.0°F

We could hit 40 days of 90+ heat

| August 2, 2021 1:00 AM

The torrid summer of 2021 continues across the Inland Empire. More triple-digit temperatures were reported late last week in Coeur d’Alene, which has taken our total to seven days with highs at or above 100 degrees. Saturday’s 105-degree reading was another record-breaker.

Since the first astronomical day of summer, which was on June 20, our average high temperature in Coeur d’Alene has been slightly over 93 degrees. The average high from June 20 through the end of July is 81.8 degrees, so the late June and July period was the hottest in recorded history. And, there were only nine days with highs under 90 degrees from June 20 through July 31.

In addition to the heat, it’s been exceptionally dry as only .08 inches of moisture fell from June 20 through July 31. We finally received some much-needed showers across the region on Sunday.

Based on current weather patterns and new trends with the long-range forecast models, the chances for more measurable moisture should increase as the month progresses. In fact, it’s possible that rainfall totals this month will be near to above normal levels from possible thunderstorm activity.

The average precipitation for Coeur d’Alene in August is 1.23 inches. Over the last five months, moisture totals have been below average.

As of July 31, there had been 35 days with high temperatures at or above 90 degrees at Cliff’s station in northwestern Coeur d’Alene this year. In 2015, he reported an all-time record 39 sweltering afternoons with highs in the 90s or higher. Although cooler weather is expected by late this week, we do expect to see more 90-degree weather, especially toward the end of August during the normally very warm to hot last quarter lunar phase. Therefore, it’s very likely we’ll have at least 40 days in 2021 with highs in the 90s or higher.

In this pattern of wide extremes, when we have exceptionally dry conditions on one side, we will often flip to the wetter side. As I’ve mentioned for several weeks, our chances for wetter than normal weather become much higher in October and/or November. For 2021, we think November will be a good one for moisture.

If the new pattern develops, Coeur d’Alene could receive at least 11 inches of moisture for the fall season, or about 170 percent of normal, especially if a new cooler than normal sea-surface temperature event, La Nina, starts forming late this year.

EARTHQUAKES and VOLCANOES

Last Wednesday, a strong 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. It was the strongest since 1965 when an 8.7 magnitude earthquake also hit the Aleutian Islands. Fortunately, there were no reports of damage or injuries as this recent earthquake was in a remote location and had a very deep epicenter.

Alaska is one of the regions that lies along the boundary of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates called the “Ring of Fire.” As the Pacific Plate pushes a few inches toward Alaska each year, the collision results in earthquakes and volcanic formations. Alaska has an average of approximately 1,000 earthquakes every year.

This state recorded the second-largest earthquake in the world as a 9.2 magnitude led to widespread devastation in Anchorage and surrounding areas on March 27, 1964.

Along the Ring of Fire, a large region of nearly 25,000 miles that covers western South America, the U.S. West Coast into southern Alaska, and then southward through Japan, the Philippines to around the edge of New Zealand, there are 452 volcanoes.

In 2017, Edinburgh University researchers discovered 47 new volcanoes in western Antarctica. This region currently has one of the largest volcanic ranges on Earth.

According to their research, there are 91 volcanoes sitting under the massive ice sheets in West Antarctica, some more than under 2 miles of ice. Scientists are confident that these newly discovered volcanoes are currently inactive, especially since they are not located along the Ring of Fire.

However, there are two active volcanoes on the continent at the bottom of the world. These include Mount Erebus, south of New Zealand, and Deception Island, which is southeast of Cape Horn in South America.

The volcanoes in West Antarctica were discovered by using ice-penetrating radar technology. According to NASA, there has been no evidence of a major eruption in recent geologic history.

Scientists are concerned that if temperatures in the Antarctic region were to warm significantly in the coming years, they theorize that melting of the ice in western Antarctica could release the pressure on the volcanoes that could eventually lead to future eruptions.

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Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com