ROCKINGHAM — Cooler temperatures throughout the month in Richmond County have made some days feel more like early fall than mid-summer.
The Sandhills region has experienced 11 days of below normal temperatures, according to National Weather Service data. The first four days of the month ranged from four to 11 degrees cooler than usual.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the El Niño pattern that set up,” said Ryan Ellis, meteorologist with the NWS office in Raleigh. “That tends to cause cooler and wetter summers.”
Average temps for August generally range from 90 degrees at the beginning of the month to 86 toward the end.
According to weather service data, there have only been four days this month with highs at or above 90 degrees.
“It is below normal,” Ellis said, “But is it record breaking? No, it’s not.”
However, a record-low maximum temperature was set, with the coldest high being 70 degrees.
“The lows aren’t abnormally low at all,” Ellis said, with those temps ranging from the lower to upper 60s.
Ellis said the coldest August on record was in 1889, with an average temperature of 73.4 degrees.
“What’s unique about it is we haven’t had the extreme temperatures,” he said, referring to the hot days over the past two decades.
There were a few days that flirted with the 100-degree mark earlier in the summer, but Ellis said it was never breached.
As for being wetter, some parts of the Piedmont have seen more than 7 inches above normal rainfall totals.
During the month of July, the last month with available data, the total rainfall for Richmond County was at or slightly below normal, with 2-3 inches above normal in the northwest corner.
Nearby Scotland and Hoke counties had below-normal rainfall, while parts of Anson County saw up to 8 inches more rain than usual.
Ellis said the cooler summer shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the upcoming winter will be colder.
Long-range maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the fall climate — October-December — to be above average. The prediction for the winter months shows an equal chance of being above, below or around average.
As for the rest of this week, Ellis said not much precipitation is expected as temps gradually rise to the lower 90s by Thursday, holding on throughout the weekend.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.