A fair fall forecast

Above-normal temperatures expected to hold

FROM LEFT, JESSE, Castiel and Rochelle Casillas of Iron Mountain walk their dog, Shelly, down West A Street in Iron Mountain, past a maple tree just beginning to show some autumn color. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN – As an El Nino weather pattern possibly forms in the Pacific, a long-range forecast from the National Weather Service suggests higher than normal temperatures through the end of the year in the Upper Peninsula.

There is a 50 percent chance of above-normal temperatures for the three-month period from October through December and just a 17 percent chance for below normal, according to the Climate Prediction Center. El Nino, a natural warming in the Pacific Ocean, typically leads to higher temperatures in the Great Lakes region. The chances for El Nino are 70 percent this winter, the CPC said.

Temperatures in August averaged 68.6 degrees at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, which was 3 degrees above normal based on record-keeping that began in 1900. For this century, it was 1.6 degrees above normal.

It marked the fourth straight month of above-normal temperatures following near-record chill in April. The hottest day last month was Aug. 14, at 90 degrees. The lowest reading was 42 degrees on Aug. 30. No new records were set.

Nationwide, it was a hot summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The overall average summer temperature for the Lower 48 was 73.5 degrees, tied for the fourth-hottest. Temperatures during the month remained especially high overnight, said Sean Breslin of The Weather Channel.

“The Lower 48’s average minimum temperature for meteorological summer — June through August — was 60.9 degrees Fahrenheit, one-tenth of a degree warmer than the previous record, set in 2016,” Breslin said. “It’s the warmest average low temperature for the nation in 124 years of record-keeping, and 2.5 degrees warmer than average.”

The Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment plant observation site reported an average minimum temperature of 58.1 degrees for August, which was 4.3 degrees above normal dating back to 1938. Overnight temperatures in June, meanwhile, were about 2 degrees above normal and in July they were nearly 3 degrees above normal.

August rainfall at Iron Mountain-Kingsford measured 4.9 inches, which was 1.5 inches above normal. The U.S. Drought monitor shows no areas of concern in the Upper Peninsula or northern Wisconsin, except for northern parts of the eastern U.P. There is a moderate drought in the northern Lower Peninsula. The CPC’s long-range forecast calls for normal precipitation trends in the U.P. for the rest of 2018.

Fall colors are at about 15 percent locally, with the peak predicted for the first week of October, according to the Wild Rivers Interpretive Center in Florence, Wis.

With recent warm, sunny days and cool but not freezing nights, this may be a good year for reds, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. Yellow, gold and orange colors remain fairly constant year to year.