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Cool 2009 summer may crack top 10 on record


Missourians are breaking out fall sweaters early as one of the coolest summers on record wraps up.

Preliminary numbers across the state indicate the 2009 three-month summer period will rank among the 15 coolest on record and may crack the top 10, said University of Missouri Extension climatologist Pat Guinan.

"A northwest-flow upper-air pattern during much of July and parts of August dominated the Midwest," he said. "This flow led to frequent cool-air intrusions from Canada and extended periods of below-normal temperatures across Missouri."

Summer rain also was abundant, averaging above normal statewide in June, July and August.

"I cannot recollect two consecutive growing seasons in Missouri when essentially every county has been drought-free," he said.

Sufficient moisture and cool temperatures over much of the summer mostly benefited agriculture, with the majority of the corn and soybean crops in good to excellent condition, according to the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service.

Irrigation required for corn test plots also is lower this year, down at least 75 percent, said Tim Reinbott, superintendent of the Bradford Research and Extension Center, near Columbia. The cool weather has delayed corn maturing by as much as three weeks, he said.

There are some concerns about the potential for an early frost hurting late-planted crops, but cool summers do not increase the likelihood of an early fall frost, Guinan said.

As cool summer temperatures prevailed across the Midwest, record-warm ocean temperatures occurred in July and excessive heat afflicted the western U.S. and Texas.

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