Not-so-hot summer

Temperatures in Columbia this summer have been considerably below normal. In July, only seven days had high temperatures
at or above normal. August had only five such days.
Thursday, September 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:18 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

August 2004 is in the books as one of the coolest since record-keeping began.

With an average temperature of 70.1 degrees, August ranked as the fourth coolest on record since 1890.

Pat Guinan of the Missouri Climate Center said persistent weather patterns have pushed cooler Canadian air masses farther south than usual, creating a cooling effect on much of the Midwest.

“Heat waves have been short-lived because of the upper air pattern,” Guinan said.

This weather pattern is expected to continue through the month of September.

“The latest outlook is calling for below-normal temperatures and above-average precipitation,” Guinan said.

From June through August, Columbia has eight days at or above 90 degrees and no 100 degree days. Last year, 36 days in the same period were at or above 90 degrees, including seven days above 100 degrees.

“Preliminary indications are that this summer will rank as the seventh coolest in Missouri since 1895,” Guinan said.

Electric customers cut back on energy-use throughout the unseasonably cool summer months. The Columbia Water and Light Department monitored a 2.5 percent drop — or 7.2 million kilowatt hours — in energy use between June and August, compared to the same months last year, said Dan Dasho, the department’s director.


Wednesday's mild temperatures drew Ellen Wilson and her son, Nate Wilson,4, and friend Charlie Werth,3, outside for a splash of sunshine and a dip in Stephens Lake. (Alex Cooney/MISSOURIAN)

The cutback has caused a revenue loss of almost $220,000, Dasho said.

Dasho said the decrease is “significant” because the department typically sees a 2 to 3 percent increase each year.

This summer has also been a wet one.

Rainfall totals for August totaled 6.27 inches, well above the 3.75-inch average.

Because of the above average rainfall, water use has also been down.

“There’s been decreased usage because people haven’t been watering their yards,” Dasho said.

Columbia residents used 99 million fewer gallons of water from June through August this year, an 8 percent decrease from the same three months in 2003. Similar to electric, Dasho said they usually expect a 2 percent to 3 percent yearly increase in water.

“We are a weather-dependent business,” Dasho said.

Although September is usually an off-peak month for Columbia Water and Light, early indications are that increased rainfall will cause continued revenue loss.

Missourian reporter Joe Meyer contributed to this report.

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