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Cooler than usual summer? Nope.

Over the past few summers, we've had some pretty hot stretches.  But this summer, we didn't have much to complain about. 

But if you’re thinking this is an unusually mild summer, you’re wrong.

“You know, believe it or not, statistically speaking it’s going to end up being a very normal year from a statistical standpoint,” said meteorologist Brian Hurley with the National Weather Service.

Looking over the last 30 years, this June and July were pretty much average, and August is only a couple of degrees below. But the last few summers have just had some unusually hot stretches.

“I think what’s been happening is we’ve been kind of getting used to several 90 degree days over the summer,” he said.

And because it hasn’t been unusually hot, like it was the last few years, we haven’t been hiding away in air conditioning.

“If you look at June and July, total power usage in New England was about 8 percent lower this year than last year,” Marcia Blomberg, a spokesperson for I-S-O-New England, which operates the region’s power grid.

“And the summer peak, which is the highest amount of electricity used in one hour was a lot lower this year than last.”

With the temperature getting back to what we used to see, some things in nature are getting back to normal.

Biologist Penny Howell of Connecticut’s marine fisheries division says fish migration into open water is about a month later than it’s been in the last few years.

“It’s actually closer to the timing that we’ve seen five or ten years ago," said Howell. "So even though it seems later, it’s only because the last few years have been much earlier.”

Looking forward a bit, the mild summer may make for a pretty fall. Chris Martin is Connecticut’s director of forestry. He says the last few summers the hot days have made trees lose their leaves earlier and muted their fall colors. But this year, Martin says,  "if we stay on track it’s going to be spectacular.”

And then there’s the mosquitoes, who were pretty happy over the last few summers.  Dr. Philip Armstrong is the director of Connecticut’s mosquito surveillance program.

“When you have warmer weather it will accelerate the generation time of mosquitoes as they develop from larvae to adults, so you’ll have more mosquitoes when it’s warmer,” said Armstrong.

He says they also feed more when it’s hot. Beyond the obvious unpleasantness of that, the real concern is the spread of West Nile disease.

“And we also see a rate of the virus replication in the mosquito will accelerate with warmer weather,” he said.

Last year at this time the state had detected West Nile in 50 samples from 15 towns, this year it’s down to 32 positive samples in 10 towns. So far, there haven’t been any human cases of West Nile reported in Connecticut. There were 4 last year. Armstrong warns the season for West Nile isn’t over yet, and it looks like the peak may just be delayed.

You may think the one person who isn't happy about the lack of super hot days is the ice cream man. But  at least one vendor says with all the nice weather, people aren't inside hiding from the heat and there's plenty of them out and about to sell ice cream to.

Craig produces sound-rich features and breaking news coverage for WGBH News in Boston. His features have run nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on PRI's The World and Marketplace. Craig has won a number of national and regional awards for his reporting, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards in 2015, the national Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award feature reporting in 2011, first place awards in 2012 and 2009 from the national Public Radio News Directors Inc. and second place in 2007 from the national Society of Environmental Journalists. Craig is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Tufts University.
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