Meteorological Or Astronomical Summer?

Good morning bloggers,

Is it summer already?  It was 44° degrees on June 1st and 47° on  June 2nd. The 47 tied a record low, and the 44 was one degree shy of the record.  That was a very cool start to summer if you consider summer began on June 1st. We call June 1st the beginning of meteorological summer.  Astronomical summer begins on the summer solstice which is 6:09 PM on June 20th.  It has always been confusing, so which one do you prefer?

Vote for Meteorological Summer (June, July, August) or Astronomical Summer (June 20th to September 22nd)?

The weather pattern is now blocking up:

A trough off the west coast is going to send it’s energy over California and Oregon and then it will be forced way up to the north over a big ridge extending from Kansas to northwest Canada. The energy will then dive south over the Great Lakes states. This pattern will likely prevent us from having any chance of rain for a long time. We will go over the details of this dry weather pattern on 41 Action News today and tonight.

Summer Breeze, the Killdeer bird in front of my house, is due to have babies within a week or so.  He is doing well and here is a picture I snapped yesterday. I don’t think he was too happy with me. He just doesn’t like it when I get this close.

Have a great Monday and thank you for stopping by and spending a few minutes on the blog.


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36 comments to Meteorological Or Astronomical Summer?


    “The weather pattern is now blocking up:”, how does this relate to the LRC? The pattern has not blocked up in any cycle that I recall. Last month you said it was showing signs of blocking up and I said then, I didnt have much faith in it happening. As I recall it did not happen. It also did not happen as forecasted during the end of January. What is different now Gary?

    • Did you read the entry from last week? The weather pattern continues right on schedule. The blocking right now is no shock at all given the pattern we are in. Summer is moving in fast and when the jet stream retreats north this type of set up can happen and is happening. As the jet stream lifts north it is revealing more and more why we have had struggles with consistent precipitation all season. The June, July, August weather patterns and versions of the LRC are always much weaker and farther north.



        Gary, I have been reading this blog daily for several years. I read last weeks blog. I havent read anything about the flow blocking up, did I miss it? The jet stream always moves North in the summer, this is not an LRC specific event. My question is if we were to look at maps from the previous cycles, do they have this blocking pattern? Also could you please define blocking up for us? Perhaps you have in the past but a refresher would be great. I have lots of confidence that the pattern we are in is very dry, how could one argue that? Farmers are begging for it to rain.

  • Brocksmama

    I like going according to the solstices and equinoxes… so I vote for June 20 to Sept. 22

  • EmmysMom

    Is it ever going to rain this year? And I’m being completely serious. It’s ridiculous and a bit scary how all of these storms completely fall apart before they reach us. Had I known how bad it was going to be in the spring/summer, I wouldn’t have been so happy to have such a dry winter.

  • Jerry


    In your spring forecast, you targetted Tuesday-Friday of this week as RED for severe weather potential (“http://weatherblog.kshb.com/spring-like-storm-approaches-spring-forecast/”).

    Which of those days do you see as having severe weather in the KC Metro?

    • Jerry,

      I believe the risk will be way up to the north of us in this blocking pattern. We had a risk slip by to our south yesterday. So, the risk came on schedule. Two cycles out at 47 days, ended up being around 44 to 45 days, so yesterday would have been more in the middle of that period from that forecast made in February. Not bad at all, and I am glad it missed us.


  • goodlifegardens

    Garden City/Creighton–We got totally missed again.

    Pastures are dead. Going to buy some supplemental protein feed today. Not good on the profit margin.

    Many of the farmers have stopped planting because the ground can’t be properly prepared for seeding and they don’t want seed to sprout and die.

    My garden is giving up. Only the tomatoes and squash are holding out. I have 2″ cracks so when I try to water it just disappears. Melons and carrots other crops are still in the dust. Haven’t had a rain since planting them so I suppose the seed is there but hasn’t had enough to germinate. Radishes are pushing above the surface because the ground is too hard for them to grow down. (and they are hot as can be)

    How can these lines of rain look so good on the Kansas side, like they couldn’t possibly miss, then just give us a few drops? They seem to split like the Red Sea and go north and south and leave us dry in the middle.

  • sedsinkc

    Welcome to the Drought of 2012. Hope you enjoy the show folks.

    I vote for meteorological summer because the climate statistics are tracked by meteorological seasons, not astronomical ones. Speaking of which, we just finished the warmest meteorological spring in KC history by a mile.

    • sedsinkc

      Perhaps it wasn’t by a mile. But it was the warmest since records have been kept, about 122 years.

  • sedsinkc

    On my FB page I wrote a note in March comparing the 7 warmest meteorological winters in KC history to their following met spring and summer. I listed the years of those winters and then ranked the following spring and summer by number. In the summary, 1 is the warmest season on record and 122 is the coldest. Here are the results, including the met spring which just ended:

    1931-32 1 75 30
    1930-31 2 102 26
    1920-21 3 9 34
    1991-92 4 70 122
    1889-90 5 87 58
    1953-54 5 61 3
    2011-12 7 1 ??

    I also wrote up a verbal summary of the data, which I won’t include here. Note the anomalously cold summer of 1992, which is believed to have been caused, at least in part, by the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991.
    Note: winters of 1889-90 and 1953-54 tied for 5th warmest, which is why they’re both ranked 5.


      what about the following winter?

      • sedsinkc

        Good question Dobber, maybe some day I’ll review the data and write it up. But it’ll be awhile as other matters are more pressing at this time.

  • frigate

    I’ve finally given up and surrendered the ship in any hopes of rain, especially after this last dud. The drought of 2012 has only just begun.

  • davidmcg

    And the drought digs in. One day, the NWS/NOAA will catch up with reality as far as us folks out here in Jefferson County and points further west are facing. Water table dropping, ponds and wells going dry. Cracks so wide a chicken can fall in. Crops wilting away, wheat heads not yet harvested bursting open. The weather situation was easy to see, warmer dryer winter, warmer dryer spring – both lacking any real sesonal storms to mention in this area, summer will be more of the same and/or worse — if not, there is no credibility to the LRC. NWS/NOAA Drought monitor shows this area in an abnormally dry area that is short term. Thats BS, we are in and have been in a drought for a long time. That ridge building and blocking is no surprise. Blue-green algae is growing and getting worse. Stay tuned folks, gonna be a long bitter summer.

  • Andrew

    My vote is for Meteorological Summer, speaking of astronomy though, can we expect clear skies for the transit of Venus tomorrow?

    For those that want more information on the transit, check out NASA’s page http://venustransit.nasa.gov/transitofvenus/
    This is the last transit of Venus until 2117
    The transit will start just after 5PM and end around 11:50PM (we won’t be able to view anything after sunset)

    There are some local events where the public can come and view the transit safely, each of these are free
    Starting at 4:00PM
    Powell Observatory (Louisburg, KS)
    Warkoczewski Observatory (UMKC)

    at 4:30PM
    Paul Tebbe Observatory (JCCC)
    H.M.S. Beagle Science Store (Parkville, MO)

    I’m sure there’s a few more events that I don’t know about, and if you can’t make it to any of them there will be a live stream of the entire transit on NASA’s page.

    • sedsinkc

      Getting my pane of welding glass this afternoon. #12 was the best I could find with relative ease on short notice, though #14 is “recommended” for safest viewing. Flying into Hawaii early tomorrow afternoon their time so should be able to see a good bit of the Venus transit from there.

  • jennie_kc

    Definitely meteorlogical seasons. It makes so much more sense to have December, January and February as Winter; March, April and May as Spring; June, July and August as Summer; and September, October and November as Autumn.

  • USMC4me

    Gary, over the past week the ‘models’ have predicted 2″ of rain in some areas and 70% in the general area. Why have the ‘models’ been so inconsistent and why should we anticipate the veracity of future models will be better?

  • Hillsdale_Bruce

    Gary, if you don’t know about the killdeer “broken wing act” google it or look at wikipedia. I was watching one do it on our farm knowing what it was and even I lost track of the chicks even being aware of the ploy. I also saved a chick when watching a group cross a stream (from a distance) as one got washed away like a ping pong ball and I brought it back to the group. They sure are noisy during nighttime in the fields. Another time we had a nest on our gravel drive and I put a flag to mark the eggs so we didn’t accidentally drive over them.

    I am actually a bit happy to not see rain in the 7 day because now we can’t get upset if the percentages don’t pan out for a particular spot. Pathetic, I know!

  • OlatheMatt

    Sure hope we do not go into a heavy drought this year. Last year south of us was terrible. Right now the NWS has us abnormally dry.

  • dogncatmom

    I usually follow meteorlogical seasons. They just seem to make the most sense.

  • numbers

    I always go by astronomical. I like to be technical so maybe that’s why.

  • goodlifegardens

    I’ve always considered winter to be Dec-Feb. I always say the person that gave Feb 28 days knew what they were doing…That’s all Feb that anyone can stand. With March there seems to be a little hope, but it is a transition month that is neither winter nor spring.

    Then I see spring as April-June because that’s when the earth comes alive.

    Then summer is July-Aug as the world bakes.

    September is like the opposite of March. It’s neither summer nor fall. There is some heat and cool but the world has not yet died.

    Fall becomes Oct and Nov as the world slowly and painfully dies.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Good evening, bloggers,

    Have you ever noticed how many questions on this blog go unswered?
    I realize that EVERYONE is really busy, but why have a blog when so many GOOD questions go unanswered?

    When I posted a comment about 6 months of my students’ work went without a comment from anyone on staff, I am puzzled. My students keep asking me, “Did you hear any answer?”

  • JohnP

    When did you post? I read the blog daily and I do not recall reading a question from you.


  • Weatherwatcher

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your interest. My comments were posted on May 31st.
    As of this date…no response. It wasn’t really a question, it was more of a statement. And yes, I did not specifically mentioned that I wanted an answer, but one would have thought…hey this guy and his students are/were interested.
    What gives?

    • mukustink

      Well it takes a lot of time to look at the LRC then give bad predictions based on it. All of the forecast based on the LRC for the past year have been a bust.:( Go the LRC website and pay money and they will answer your question!

      • JohnP

        Start substantiating what you are stating. The LRC is as good as any predictive tool when it comes to weather. “Good” does not mean 100% accurate (nothing meets that criterion).

        I see you shooting your mouth (or in this case typing) a lot but contributing nothing. Maybe if you start paying attention you may just learn something from those that do know more than you – and there are plenty of knowledgeable folks in this blog.


    • JohnP

      I went back and read your post – quite interesting and I applaud teachers like you that show their students more of the real world. Unfortunately, as it is the case many times, the blog was distracted on that day by trolls. I both read and posted that day and I missed your post! Do not take it personally.

      Thank you for your informative and always appropriate posts.


  • Weatherwatcher

    Hi John,

    You are very welcome. My students really enjoyed working on this project. In fact, they couldn’t get enough of it. Some of them even worked on their part at home and on weekends. I was very pleased with the outcome. Sadly, yes, there are certain individuals on this blog who are quite negative, and at times, insulting. I went back into my notes, and looked again at the results; one blogger, (who will not be mentioned by name) was negative and insulting, in 97% of his entries. The name this person uses to identify himself on this blog also has a negative connotation. There is one, bright spot in observing my students in all of this… they became aware that life is full of negative, as well as positive people, and life-skills are necessary to handle these situations effectively. Hope to chat with you soon, John.

  • mukustink

    I can say I was here when true love was born between John P and Weatherwatcher! Congrats when is the wedding :).

  • msblue57

    Hi Gary, I just wanted to tell you I had 4 Killdeer eggs hatch late yesterday afternoon. They had deserted the nest by early today so I cant get any pics to share with you! It was fun watching the parents “lure” me away from their nest! Mine took 4 weeks to hatch. They were so cute!