Published: 2011-08-15 09:59:40
Updated: 2011-08-15 09:59:40
Posted August 15, 2011 9:59 a.m. EDT
We've had a modest pattern change across the eastern U.S. in the past week or so that has brought an end to the long streak of much above normal temperatures, and for a change we've seen highs either side of normal for a while. Then, with a fairly sharp upper level trough moving in from the west and a surface cold front crossing the state, we've seen some of our coolest air in almost a month settle in behind last night's round of intense thunderstorms.
At RDU this morning, the temperature bottomed out at 64 degrees. That's only five below normal for the date (and rather warm compared to the record of 51 set on this date in 1964), but it is also the lowest temperature we've seen there since a minimum of 63 back on July 16th. We first fell into the 60s between 10 and 11 pm last night as a strong storm crossed the airport, and that marked the first time we've seen less than 70 degrees there since July 18th, when the low was 68 degrees.
That marks the longest stretch of consecutive days without dipping below 70 on record since observations began in 1944, and is three days beyond the closest previous stretch, which was 23 days in July last year. No other years have yielded even 20 straight days.
It appears we'll have a couple more days with low humidity and lows in the mid 60s this week, before turning a little muggier toward the weekend. Even then, a persistent tendency to form weak troughs over the eastern U.S. should keep our highs mostly within a few degrees either way of normal, and at least for the next week or two there is little indication of a return to upper 90s or triple-digit territory. After that? Too soon to know...