September 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

Detroit area's summer full of weather surprises

A truck rolls south past a stranded car on flooded Interstate 75, under Grand Blvd., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2014. (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)

Metro Detroit followed a historically brutal winter with a summer that was noticeably cooler than normal, even if it broke no records.

As Labor Day weekend closed out the meteorological summer, area residents said they’ve given up trying to guess what the weather will bring.

For most of Monday, people enjoying festivals, picnics and other outdoor activities sweltered under the hot, sticky weather that was missing for most of the summer: Temperatures hit the mid-80s before thunderstorms blew into Metro Detroit Monday evening.

“The summer was wet. It was just like the winter was cold,” said Vincent Walker, 57, of Oakland Township, who took in some jazz tunes Monday with his wife, Carmen, 49, at the Detroit Jazz Festival downtown before the rain started.

“It certainly was an unexpected season of rain,” Carmen Walker added. “Mother Nature has her hands on us right now. She’s changing things around.”

During June, July and August — the three months the National Weather Service considers summer — Metro Detroit topped 90 just three times, far short of the seasonal average, 11.3.

July 22 was the summer’s hottest day, topping out at 94 degrees, officials said.

“What a month and what a season,” said Matt Mosteiko, a meteorologist for the weather service. “We only had three days of 90 or more and in 2012 we had something like 30. You can see how that kind of is a way to tell how hot or cold the summer has been.”

Metro Detroit’s average summer temperature is 71.7; this year’s summer was 1.1 degree lower, at 70.6.

Metro Detroit, he said, was not ranked in the top 10 for coldest or wettest summers.

It was the 19th wettest summer, with 12.75 inches of rain, and the ninth wettest August at 6.32 inches — a total that included the 4.57 inches that fell on Aug. 11, causing widespread flood damage to homes, businesses and roads.

“If not for that one day with 4.57 inches, it would have been well below normal for both the season and for August,” Mosteiko said.

Ed Price, 70, of Ferndale, who took in the jazz concert at Campus Martius, said he welcomed some of the cooler weather this summer but wonders what is in store for this fall and winter.

“I didn’t really mind it being cool, however, if that means the weather long-term is getting screwed up, then I am worried about that,” Price said.

“I think something’s changing in the weather. Usually if we have a really cold winter you have a hot and sticky summer. Cold weather followed by a cool summer? I don’t know, that’s different.”

Price said he’s read rumblings that “this winter’s going to be as bad or worst than the last one,” but he’s praying for the best.

The summer-like conditions — minus the humidity — are forecast to continue through Thursday, with scattered thunderstorms Tuesday giving way to mostly sunny conditions, with highs in the low to mid-80s.

lfleming@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2620