Near Record Summer for NJ

Near Record Summer for NJ Two degrees might not sound like much, but it's enough to put this summer on track to be New Jersey's third hottest on record, the state climatologist said Friday. Also, the Philadelphia Health Department is reporting the city's 26th heat-related death.

The average temperature this summer has been 74.2 degrees, two full degrees above the historical average of 72.2, said David A. Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University.

"It is more than likely that this is going to be one of the 10 warmest summers in New Jersey, and we have records back to the 1880s," Robinson said. "We would end up third warmest if things stay on track for the rest of the summer."

Robinson calculates summer temperatures from June 1 through August 31.

The thermometer has hit 90 at various locations in New Jersey every day since Aug. 11, with high humidity that has made it feel even hotter, said Bill Goodman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly. Thursday's high was 93 degrees, recorded in Newark and Morristown, Goodman said. In Trenton, the humidity made it feel like 100.

"More of the same right through Sunday," Goodman predicted.

Beginning Monday and lasting most of the week, however, Goodman said a cold front will offer a relative break, with temperatures in the low- to mid-80's and less humidity.

To some extent, the hot weather is related to the state's drought, Robinson said. Typically, water in the ground and in vegetation evaporates in warm weather, acting as a coolant. But as the earth and plants dry up, their cooling effect diminishes.

"Temperatures are probably slightly higher in the last month due to the drying of the soils and vegetation around here," Robinson said.

On Thursday, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell warned that water restrictions lifted after June rains could be re-imposed if more rain does not fall soon. But DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said Friday that restrictions are not likely to resume until September.

Robinson, the climatologist, said that if the heat keeps up, this could become the fourth summer in the last 14 years to make New Jersey's top ten hottest list, with 1988, 1991 and 1999.

"When you start seeing four in the last 14 years, that may be attributable to some human influence on the environment," he said.

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Author: 6 ABC-AP

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