Wet North - Dry South
August 2007 and Summer Overview

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, Cook College/NJAES, Rutgers University
September 8, 2007

Much like in July, August 2007 saw the northern portion of the Garden State receive above average precipitation while the south was drier than expected. Statewide, a preliminary estimate of precipitation comes to 4.89", which is 0.33" above average, thus quite close to the 1971-2000 mean. However, totals ran 0.5" to 2.00" below average from Mercer and Middlesex counties southward and 0.5" to 3.00" above average to the north.

While rainfall was more evenly distributed in June, the summer as a whole (June-August) proved to be the 10th wettest of the past 108 from Hunterdon, Somerset and Union counties northward (18.41" or 5.02" above average) and the 41st driest to the south (11.08" or 1.56" below average). The southern value is a bit deceptive, as Middlesex and Monmouth counties (in what the National Weather Service considers the southern division of NJ) had summer rainfall that averaged about an inch above average, while all other southern counties anywhere from about 3-6" below average. Put together, summer precipitation across NJ totaled 13.65", which is 0.81" above average. This gives it a modest ranking of 46th wettest back to 1895.

Despite the dry conditions in the south, we were fortunate that only the mildest of drought conditions appeared. This is in part due to a wet spring throughout the state and the general reliance of ground water in the south. Meanwhile in the north, the wetness resulted in surface reservoir levels that have only fallen to several percentage points below average over the course of the past several very dry weeks. The US Drought Monitor considers the far southern counties as "abnormally dry".

In the temperature department, August averaged 74.0°, 1.2° above average and in a four-way tie for 27th warmest on record. The preliminary statewide summer temperature averaged 73.1°, which is 0.9° above the expected value. Thus, summer 2007 is tied with 1898 for the 22nd warmest.

In addition to the split precipitation picture, the summer of 2007 will be known for the week to week variability in weather and the terrific weekend and holiday conditions. There were intervals of sun, clouds, rain, cool spells and heat and humidity; after all it was summer in NJ. However, as soon as any one of these conditions developed, the end of it several days ahead was in sight.

As for the weekends, reports from the Atlantic City Airport in Pomona indicate that afternoon sky conditions on 30 of the 33 weekend days and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends were either clear or partly cloudy. Clouds and rain fell on only three afternoons. While local conditions up and down the coast and at points inland may have varied somewhat, it would be extremely rare to find a summer with a better weekend outdoors batting average.

Past Climate Summaries