Summer officially ends Saturday, and while park and beach managers are reaping the benefits of the unusually hot and dry summer, farmers are hoping next season brings more normal weather.
“It was a bad two years. It really, really was. We’re hoping for a normal year next year,” said Tim Malinich, Ohio State University extension educator.
With bad weather last year and a drought this year, Malinich said local farmers, like Dave Miller, have had some bad luck with the growing season.
Miller, owner of Miller Orchards in Amherst, said his apple crops were hit the hardest. Miller is operating with about 25 percent of the crops that he would have in a normal year.
The growing season began early but was followed by freezes that damaged many of the crops. With lower-than-average rainfall in most areas, Malinich said farmers everywhere were feeling the pinch, although some areas received more rain than others.
“Everyone was hurt,” he said. “It affected the availability and varieties at farmers markets.”
Miller has accepted the fact that he can’t change the weather, however.
“We take what we can get,” he said. “We can’t control the weather. God is in control. … We’re hoping for a better summer next year.
The summer showed a “pretty significant” decrease in rainfall, according to Martin Thompson, hydrometeorological technician.
The National Weather Service in Cleveland recorded 9.21 inches of rainfall from June 1 to Aug. 31. Last year, 10.4 inches was recorded at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
The summer also was unusually hot, likely due to a high pressure system over the central U.S., Thompson said.
Meteorologists recorded 25 days of temperatures higher than 90 degrees at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport. On average, each summer in the Cleveland-area can expect eight days of such temperatures, Thompson said.
The hottest day in Cleveland was 98 degrees, which was recorded on both July 7 and July 17.
Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans said there was a downside to the heat.
Evans said there were some heat-related deaths this summer, but he did not have a recorded number.
The heat also deterred some beachgoers, said Bryan Goldthorpe, park manager of Lorain County Metro Parks.
Goldthorpe said attendance at Lakeview Beach dropped when the temperature neared 90 degrees, but attendance was still about the same as last year because of low rainfall all summer.
The beachgoers who did brave the heat seemed to stay in the water, said Vito Cammarata, owner of West River Kayak and Canoe. Paddle boarding was the big seller for Cammarata this summer.
“(Paddle boarding) has been around for some time … but it’s really boomed around here,” he said. “Our whole season was great for kayak renting, thanks to the weather.”
Local fishermen likely agree, said Heather Fralich, marketing coordinator for Visit Lorain County.
Fralich said fishing was big for Lorain County this summer, as well as outdoor sports like cycling.
“Anything on the water this year seemed to be big, but cycling is always big around here,” she said.
With a high temperature of 63 degrees Wednesday, the temperature was still well above the average near the end of summer, but Thompson said the weather is likely to feel much cooler to residents who have become accustomed to the hot season.
“We are getting to the fall season now. We definitely tend to cool off,” he said. “After a hot summer, it feels a lot cooler.”
Thompson couldn’t predict the weather for October to December but said a 90-day outlook showed above-normal temperatures. He added that the El Nino effect, winds coming off of the Pacific Ocean, may throw off normal winter weather patterns and lead to dry, warm conditions.
“We’ll see how all that plays out,” he said. “I can’t say there won’t be any snow, but there may be less.”
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-712 at firstname.lastname@example.org.