Summer about to elbow autumn to the sidelines

07/18/2014 5:14 PM

08/06/2014 12:18 PM

It couldn’t last forever.

After several days that felt more like autumn than the middle of July, summer’s heat is about to settle over Wichita and much of the region, forecasters say.

“Next week’s going to be hot,” said Jerilyn Billings Wright, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

Saturday will offer one more day of below-normal temperatures before the heat starts to move in, forecasters say. Temperatures will climb into the mid-90s by early next week and creep toward 100 in southwest and northeastern Kansas late in the week.

“This trough (of cool air) is kind of retreating,” said Becky Elliott, a meteorologist with AccuWeather’s Wichita office.

High pressure is moving into the region behind that trough, she said.

“It’s not quite a ‘death ridge,’ ” Elliott said, using a common meteorological nickname for the domes of high pressure that can park over the nation’s heartland in the summer, “but it’s going to shift back to a more normal pattern for this time of year.

“We were lucky enough to get a nice reprieve.”

And what a reprieve it was. Cool temperature records fell like leaves in autumn around Kansas over the past few days.

Wichita’s high of 67 on Thursday shattered the previous record for coolest high on July 17, which went back more than 100 years: 75, set in 1911.

Russell’s high of 68 on Thursday toppled the previous cool high of 73, set in 1967. Salina’s 70 bettered the 75 of 1967. Chanute reached 73, erasing the 75 from 1911.

Dodge City only climbed to 62, more than 10 degrees cooler than the previous record of 73 in 1967. Garden City topped out at 63 on Thursday, easily erasing the record of 72 from 1967.

Topeka’s low of 50 on Wednesday morning broke the low temperature record for July 16 of 54 degrees, first set in 1889 and matched in 1970.

The warming temperatures won’t shut off the chances for showers and thunderstorms, Billings Wright said. Any precipitation will be good news, she said, as moisture helps keep temperatures down. Energy that would otherwise boost temperatures is used to evaporate moisture instead.

But that lasts only so long, she said, which is why temperatures will climb near the century mark by the end of next week. Wichita’s had only one 100-degree day so far this year: 102 back on May 4.

If AccuWeather’s long-range forecast is accurate, that triple-digit day will have plenty of company by the end of July and early August.

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