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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published August 15 2012

Weather Talk: Average temps don’t mean weather ‘supposed to’ cool

Average daily high and low temperatures are often misinterpreted. They are in no way meant to show what temperature the weather is supposed to be. An average is nothing more than the average from the past, and the past is a very limited amount of time.

For example, now that August is half over, daily average temperatures start to drop. But this does not mean that the weather “is supposed to” get cooler now. The fact that it is cool today is merely coincident. The record high today is 104 from 1988, suggesting extremely hot weather is still quite possible this time of year.

The averages drop in August because in some years, like this one, we get a little cooler pre-fall. Most years, the progression toward autumn is not steady at all. It turns cooler, then warmer, then cooler, then warmer. But gradually, the cooler trends become a larger factor until summer is just about forgotten.

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