Still waiting for warmup

Average summer predicted after cool, wet spring

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo FROM LEFT, AZLYN BENDER, Ryan Bender and Jace Sharkey of Iron Mountain sell lemonade to Zoe Spera of Iron Mountain and Sofia Pritchard of Tarpon Springs, Fla., outside the Sharkey home on Hughitt Street in Iron Mountain. Though cooler than normal, Thursday offered what might be the only sunny day in the forecast through the weekend, with rain predicted today and Saturday and high temperatures struggling to reach 70 until early next week, according to the National Weather Service office in Marquette.

IRON MOUNTAIN — With the start of summer a week away, forecasters expect a near-average season for the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area after five straight months of below-normal temperatures and a wet spring.

The summer solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at 10:54 a.m. Friday, June 21, when the sun hits its northernmost point in the sky, marking the longest day of the year.

The Climate Prediction Center calls for a 36 percent chance of above-normal temperatures and a 29 percent chance of below-normal temperatures over the three-month period from July through September. Typical rainfall amounts are predicted.

Temperatures in May averaged 49.8 degrees at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, which was nearly 4 degrees below normal and the coldest since 2002. It ranked as the 15th-coldest May since records began in the early 1900s.

Temperatures have been below normal every month so far in 2019 — by roughly 3 degrees in January, 5 degrees in February, 4 degrees in March and 2 degrees in April.

The highest temperature last month at the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant cooperative observer site was 83 degrees May 26. The lowest was 28 degrees on May 7, 10 and 11.

Rainfall measured 5.78 inches in May, which was 2.65 inches above normal and the ninth-wettest on record. The 1.2 inches that fell May 9 was an all-time high for that date, as was the 1.27 inches on May 19.

It marked the third unusually wet May in the past five years, following 5.97 inches of rain in 2015 and 5.9 inches in 2017. Only March has had normal precipitation so far this year.

In the contiguous U.S., rainfall in May averaged 4.41 inches, which was 1.5 inches above average and the second-wettest in 125 years of record-keeping, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Soggy conditions from June 2018 through May 2019 led to the wettest 12-month period on record in the U.S., at 37.68 inches, which was 7.73 inches above average, NOAA scientists said.

Because of the wet spring, corn and soybean planting has been delayed. By June 9, just 83 percent of corn was planted, compared with a 2014-18 average of 99 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Soybeans won’t be impacted as much, because you can plant them all the way through the end of June and you won’t lose much in yield,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jason Nicholls said. “At this point, the vast majority of farmers who haven’t planted corn yet are filing for insurance or planting soybeans.”

This year’s corn yield could be off by a billion bushels from a year ago, a decline of about 7%, according to an AccuWeather analysis.

In the central Upper Peninsula, conditions vary from farm to farm, but Michigan State University-Extension educators estimate planting times are up to three weeks behind schedule.

Although normal precipitation is expected locally, a wetter-than-average summer is predicted for all but the northern Midwest. The Plains and central East Coast also may see plenty of storms.

For Father’s Day weekend, locally heavy rain is possible in the Arkansas and Mississippi River valleys.

“This brings another risk of flash flooding to rain-fatigued parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma that could last well into next week,” the Weather Channel’s Jonathan Erdman said. In some areas, the Mississippi River has been above flood stage since around the first of the year, he said.

Several Midwestern rivers have flooded periodically since March, causing billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses, according to the Associated Press. Nearly 280 roads remain closed in Missouri, mostly in communities situated near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-3500, ext. 26, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.