Summer’s finally here

Depending on who you talk with, the start of summer came right after Memorial Day, it came three weeks ago — on June 1 — or it happened at 11:54 a.m. Friday.

For many, the Memorial Day weekend has long marked the unofficial start of summer. The temperature has started to heat up, children have finished school for the year and the longer, nicer days lend themselves to being outside, whether you are working — think cutting grass or weeding — putting the final touches on the garden or enjoying your favorite beverage either poolside or while staffing the grill.

June 1 is considered to be the meteorological start of summer, and that’s based, according to our friends at the Old Farmer’s Almanac, on annual temperature cycles and the reality that the year is divided into 12 months. And, since there are four seasons, it makes sense that each is three months long and the change happens on the first day of a month.

Friday, however, represented the astronomical start of the summer season, which began with the summer solstice, that moment when the sun is at its farthest point south.

As comes with the official change of each season, it’s easy to wonder about what the weather will hold for us during the coming months. And again, we can turn to our friends at the almanac for guidance. The publication tells us that, overall for our region, we can expect cooler than average temperatures with above average rainfall. It also tells us that the hottest period of the summer will be in late June, early and mid-July and mid-August. That might seem like, well, summer to everyone who lives in this region.

A look back through the pages of the almanac, though, offers a little more insight into the accuracy of the predictions.

For example, for the period of June 12-16, the forecast called for a few thunderstorms and warm temperatures. That seems pretty close to the weather we actually had.

Considering the week that has just ended (a period that ran Monday through today), the almanac predicted we would see showers and cooler temperatures each day. Again, that was pretty much what we experienced.

This week’s forecast is calling for scattered thunderstorms and warmer temperatures, and that’s really not too far off from the predictions the professional meteorologists have provided for the coming week.

Which brings us to the start of July, and the all-important Independence Day holiday. According to the almanac, July 1 and 2 will be sunny and hot, and the period of July 3-6 will bring thunderstorms and then sunny and cooler weather. Overall for the month, we can expect below average temperatures with lower than average precipitation.

For August, we can expect normal temperatures and above average precipitation.

None of this really matters if you believe that summer is a state of mind, something that’s different for all of us, those few months where we can enjoy baseball, being outside with friends and family and appreciate things like outdoor festivals and sitting back and enjoying one of the many concerts that will be held in communities throughout our region, realizing that there’s only a limited amount of time before fall arrives.

And, depending on your point of view, that will happen on either Sept. 1, during the Labor Day weekend or at 3:50 a.m. on Sept. 23.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)