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Cool temperatures are here to stay

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By USA Today
Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
 

A record-setting cool snap that covered much of the country over the past week is forecast to continue into early August, forecasters say.

How cool? Over the last week of July, there were more than 10 times as many cold-temperature records (519) set than heat records (42), according to the National Climatic Data Center.

The center also reports that several monthly record-low temperatures were set or tied from as far west as California to as far east as Georgia.

The chilly temperatures resulted from an upper atmospheric weather pattern that helped funnel cool, Canadian air masses into the central and eastern U.S., says AccuWeather meteorologist Jack Boston.

Temperatures dipped into the upper 30s in portions of the Dakotas and northern Minnesota last weekend. In Hancock, Mich., in the state's Upper Peninsula, only three other July days on record had been colder than last Sunday's high of 52 degrees, reports Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. This high is typical of mid-October, he said.

Last weekend, the pleasant temperatures were a factor at an adult soccer tournament in Howard, Wis.: “The cooler weather is a big help,” participant Miguel Sanchez of Green Bay said. “It brings people out to watch, and it's definitely easier on us playing. We've had some rough weather here the last few years, so it's nice for a change.”

The chill came on the heels of a brutal but relatively brief mid-July heat wave that set dozens of heat records. Many locations in the central and eastern part of the country had five or six straight 90-degree days, Boston says.

AccuWeather reported that New York City's main energy supplier, ConEdison, went from record usage of 13,332 megawatts during the peak of the heat wave on July 19 to much more typical usage of 10,000 to 11,000 megawatts during the cooler, less humid weather last week.

The cool even extended into the normally steamy Southeast: Georgia Power has not come close to its record demand because of the mild conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather.

Looking ahead, much of the country should “stay cool for the first and second weeks of August,” Boston says, thanks to continued cool air masses chugging down from Canada. By the middle to end of August, however, a return to more normal temperatures and higher humidity is likely, he said. “This will also make us more susceptible to tropical systems.”

The recent cool snap remains an anomaly, though: Since the beginning of 2010, the USA has seen more than 87,000 record high temperatures, compared with fewer than 35,000 record lows, according to Guy Walton, a meteorologist from the Weather Channel.

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