As we start to come to the end of what will be one of the warmest February’s on record. Which will end what will be a top 10 warmest winter on record? The natural question people have is. Does this mean we are in store for a blazing hot summer?
The simple answer is no, well we could, but it won’t be because we had a warm winter.
There is no correlation with a warm winter and a hot summer. The data clearly shows it, but it is also true because of how different the seasons are. The jet stream pattern changes so much from winter to summer. That’s what makes Spring and Autumn so turbulent around here. It is virtually impossible to have the same atmospheric steering current from winter to summer just because of how much the jet stream changes and how warmer oceans water and longer days change our weather patterns.
Just for good measure, I looked at the top 25 warmest winter seasons in Charlotte from 1878-2017. Of those 25 warm winters, only 4 times did we then have a top 25 hot summer. That is not a correlation. Statistically, I’d like to see at least 50% or more of the warm winters followed by hot summer to be a correlation. Not 16% like we have here.
Looking deeper for above, below and near average summers following a warm winter. Only around 42% of the time did we have an above average summer. Closer to 60% of the time it was near average or below average.
One funny side stat I found as we are on pace for a top 5 warmest February. The warmest February on record in Charlotte was ironically followed by the 2nd snowiest March on record.
So what does correlate to a hot summer?
The biggest correlation to hot summers was actually drought or below average rainfall. The biggest driver of a hot or cool summer is cloud cover and rainfall. When we have drought we get hot and that heat then dries us out more when then makes it even hotter, Drought begets drought is the saying for this reason. Show me a dry winter, spring and I’ll sow you a dry hot summer. So if we want hints on our summer weather look at the rainfall this spring and into the summer not the temperatures we had during the winter.