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      2014 vs 2012: A Study in Contrasts

      This year, much of the central U.S. was wet as summer began.

      This year so far, weâ??ve had our historic winter and cold spring. Actually, the cold eased late in the spring and May ended a bit above average. June was also less than a degree above average. However through the first half of July, the mean temperature at the National Weather Service (NWS) site near Negaunee is running 4.4 degrees below average.

      It is interesting to compare this year with the very warm 2012. March 2014 was a record cold month with a mean temperature of 15.6 degrees. Historic warmth marked March 2012 with a mean temperature of 39.7 degrees. It then continued warm right into summer. June and July 2012 were both over three degrees above average and very warm through all the central U.S. (Image 1 above).

      Part of the reason for the warmth two years ago and the cool weather so far this summer can be gleaned from the Drought Index. Dry ground helps heat up the air more effectively; in other words, drought begets heat. A good share of the middle and western portions of the U.S were in some level of drought two years ago; this year is just the opposite (Images 2 & 3).

      While it will warm up the next several days, the heat does not look extreme. Highs should hit the 80s for at least a couple of days over most of the U.P. into early next week. However, all medium range forecast models bring cooler air into the Great Lakes before next week is through. July 2014 may end up at least a bit below average.