Southern traditionalists, this summer is for you.
There will be plenty of humid days, an ample supply of afternoon and evening thunderstorms, and an average number of hurricanes, based on the summer 2018 forecasts issued by the government and several private meteorological companies.
June 1 marks the start of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season and meteorological summer.
While the official start of summer isn’t until June 21, meteorologists classify the seasons in three-month groups – summer (June 1-Aug. 31), autumn (Sept. 1-Nov. 30), winter (Dec. 1-Feb. 28), and spring (March 1-May 31).
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That timetable fits nicely for the Rock Hill area and the rest of the South, where summer heat usually breaks out near the beginning of June.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through its Climate Prediction Center, is calling for average to slightly above-average temperatures and precipitation during June, July and August.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta-based Weather Channel is predicting average temperatures in June and cooler-than-average for July and August.
And Accu-Weather, based in State College, Pa., is calling for a traditional summer in the Southeast – high humidity and rather stormy.
“A barrage of showers and thunderstorms will target the Southeast,” Accu-Weather’s Jillian MacMath said.
In the Rock Hill area, average high temperatures range from 84 degrees on June 1 to 90 degrees in July and early August, dropping back to 86 degrees by the end of August. On average, Rock Hill sees about 45 days when the temperature reaches 90 degrees or hotter.
Scientists from NOAA, the Weather Channel and Accu-Weather agree on the basic pattern affecting the Southeast this summer. There won't be a “blocking” pattern in the Atlantic off the U.S. coast. A blocking pattern tends to create heat and dry conditions in the Southeast.
Meanwhile, most meteorologists also agree on the hurricane forecast, calling for an average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in 2018.
The National Hurricane Center’s official forecast is 10-16 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major (Category 3 or higher) hurricanes. Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach is predicting 14 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Those predictions are close to the averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
North Carolina State University scientist Lian Xie predicts above-average activity – 14-18 named storms, seven to 11 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes. Xie’s prediction, however, was made in April, before many meteorologists lowered their forecast for tropical systems because of a cooling trend in surface water in the tropical Atlantic.
All of this is in the wake of a devastating 2017 hurricane season, when three named storms caused major damage in the United States and across the Caribbean.
Of course, the 2018 season didn’t wait for the official June 1 starting date. Subtropical Storm Alberto formed last week. Accu-Weather’s summer forecast, issued May 2, predicted such a development.
Meteorologists also noted that the number of hurricanes in the forecast isn’t the key factor.
“Regardless of the seasonal forecast, it only takes one storm to make it an active season for you,” Colorado State’s Klotzbach said.