It was a long, cold, and ugly winter that lasted right through our spring. Summer is here and we are finally seeing some good old fashion Georgia heat. After experiencing such a cool spring season, I did not think we would see a warm-up like we did late last month with those record high temperatures.

In looking ahead at the new Climate Prediction Center 90-Day Outlook, we can expect the temperatures to remain above average for the summer. There were a few meteorologists I know talking about a possible drought this summer, but the 90-day rainfall outlook is showing above average rainfall to continue. Our lake is at full summer pool and there it should stay for the summer.

While we begin summer with warming temperatures, the outlook for summer storm frequency will be going up with the afternoon heating. I have seen a real increase in lightning over the past several years. I have tried to do some research to learn why but have not seen any plausible explanations. I have my own theory however.

As I pointed out, temperatures will be warmer than normal this summer. I believe the increased heat is causing thunderstorm clouds to rise even higher than they normally would. I won’t go into all the meteorological processes, but there’s a lot of cold and ice up there, wreaking havoc on electrical charges within the cloud. What concerns me the most, is the increased numbers of positive lightning bolts in recent years.  These are much more powerful than the typical negative lightning strike.

A negative strike comes from the bottom of a thunderstorm and is about a million volts with 30,000 amps. A positive lightning bolt leaps out of the top of a thunderstorm cloud and is a billion volts with 300,000 amps! What makes them even more dangerous is they can travel 20-25 miles from the parent storm.

Even though it may be sunny over the lake, it would be wise before you take the family out, to check the radar and see where the storms are and where they are moving.

In addition to the summer storm season gearing up, hurricane season is also beginning. We expect an above average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic. Here are the names for the 2021 season: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.

This month the area to monitor is the Gulf of Mexico for tropical storm formation. In July, that area shifts into the Caribbean, from the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, northward to off the coast of Florida and the Carolinas. Then in August and September, the region of formation is off the west coast of Africa!  These are the big ones. They have the entire Atlantic to cross and get stronger, feeding on the warm ocean waters. We’ll be watching.

Be safe and have a wonderful first month of summer!