By JB Clark
TUPELO – Afternoon high temperatures above 90 degrees are officially established in the region, ushered in by today’s beginning of summer.
The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures to stay high through the summer.
Students are almost an entire month into their summer breaks, but today marks the official beginning of the summer solstice – the time when the north pole is closest to the sun.
Phil Baker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis, said their forecast for the month of July shows below normal precipitation with warmer than average temperatures.
Historically, the average temperature for a 24-hour July day in Tupelo is 80 degrees, which Baker said can be roughly imagined as a low of 70 degrees and a high of 90.
The historic average for August in Tupelo is 79 degrees, and heat relief doesn’t usually come until September where Tupelo’s average has been 74 degrees.
Baker said Tupelo residents can expect higher than average temperatures to continue through the rest of the summer, but Tupelo could get more rainfall in the latter half of the summer.
Winter temperatures this year were similarly more extreme than in past years, but Baker said the summer and winter extremes are unrelated.
Winter weather is caused by low-pressure systems like the polar vortex experienced this past winter. High-pressure systems, most notably the Bermuda High, cause summer heat.
When the Bermuda High, a high-pressure system in the North Atlantic Ocean, moves into the southeastern United States, clouds and thunderstorms have more trouble forming and, as a result, temperatures rise and rainfall becomes more sparse.