Climate scientist predicts warmer than normal summer for Rochester, Western New York

May 18, 2017

Credit freeimages.com/Beverly Lloyd-Roberts

A months-long drought that started last year seems like a distant memory after an extremely wet spring, but abnormally dry soil conditions in New York State persisted until just  two weeks ago.

Jessica Spaccio, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, is keeping an eye on long range projections for this summer. She says there is a 40 to 50 percent chance of above normal temperatures in June, July, and August in Rochester and Western New York, which is a concern for farmers.

"Any warm temperatures increase evaporation. That dries out the soil and it can also dry out any ponds they use for watering livestock. The warmer the temperatures, the more evaporation there is."

Central and Northern New York have a 50 to 60 percent chance of higher than normal temperatures for the next three months.

Last summer was the second warmest on record for Rochester, with average temperatures almost 4 percent above normal. Historically normal temperatures for June range from 73 degrees early in the month to 80 by the end of the month. Normal for July and early August is low 80s. Upper 70s are considered normal temperatures for late August.

Spaccio says there are no major indicators suggesting whether Rochester and upstate New York will see normal or above or below normal precipitation levels this summer.

"If we dried out a little bit, for a few weeks we would be okay and actually farmers would be happy about that right now because their fields are very wet. But we do keep an eye on that going into the summer because things can change."