Iowans counting up the savings on their air-conditioning bills are wondering if they’ll pay for it in heating when an extra-cool winter follows. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says though August was the third-coldest on record, September’s looking warmer than normal — and none of it tells us much about the winter to come. Typically there’s little correlation between our summers and what’ll happen in winter, and our cool summer foreshadow a warmer winter or a colder one, only a chance that September will be a little cooler than normal. On the other hand Hillaker says “it looks like El Nino’ is trying to make a return” and if that western-hemisphere phenomenon recurs, it could mean a slightly warmer December, January and February. Summertime seasons typically don’t vary much from one year to another, so it’s other seasons when we set records for temps that are really extreme. Hillaker says while it doesn’t always seem like a big variation “from cold to colder to coldest,” there’s actually more variability in our winters than in the warmer seasons of the year. The hottest summer ever was in 1936, the coolest ever in 1915, but the difference between their average temps was only about ten degrees, and he says overall there’s not a big range between our hottest and our coolest summers.
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