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Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer ... but no July-August high heat

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer ... but no July-August high heat

There have been 5 90-degree days this year –- 2 in May and 3 in June
Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer ... but no July-August high heat
The Raeder family of Ballston Spa prepares for a boat ride on Saratoga Lake on Monday.
Photographer: Jeff Wilkin

July and August generally are summer's big hitters, the two months that handle the high heat of the season.

Not this year. The two sluggers went 0-for-90.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Albany said the temperature didn't hit 90 degrees in either month.

"We didn't have any 90-degree days in August and, despite that, the month didn't finish much below normal," said meteorologist Tom Wasula. "We finished only 0.9 degrees below normal for the month, so it was a fairly near-normal month."

People who enjoy swelter and sweat enjoyed Tuesday, Aug. 22, when 89 degrees worth of heat were recorded in the Capital Region. That was the hottest day of the month.

Wasula said the last time 90 was absent in July and August was 2004.

"That year, we only had two 90-degree days for the entire season," Wasula said. "We usually average around 10 a year. We've had five this year, two in May, three in June."

Summer brought rain, but the summer was not saturated. "The precipitation for all June, July and August, we had 12.89 inches, which was 1.52 inches above normal," Wasula said. "Again, it's above normal, but it's not way above normal for the warm season."

Heat lovers can hope -- Wasula said September can go for 90. In 2015, he said, the Capital Region had three 90-degree days in that month.

"We do get them occasionally, especially in the first few weeks of the month," he said.

On Monday, people were outdoors to celebrate the traditional end of summer. There were thousands at Saratoga Race Course, and a big bunch of boaters at the state boat launch at Saratoga Lake. Boaters would have preferred warmer days.

"It definitely was a cooler and rainier summer," said Marcy Raeder of Ballston Spa, who went on a family trip with husband Derrick, daughter Kyleigh and son Colton. "I'm always happy when we get the time in."

"We've had better, but overall, we're satisfied," said Brian Grey, another Ballston Spa resident on a family trip. Grey said problems with his red and white Sea Ray and an early summer vacation pushed back some trips on the water. "We played a lot of catch-up," he said. "Every opportunity we got, we got out."

Tom Parker of Greenfield Center noticed the cooler weather.

"I could go for some more global warming right now," he said, adding high heat is preferred for his family's tube and ski sessions. "We're in the water, not just fishing," he said.

Cooler temperatures might have persuaded more people to go hiking this summer. Sarah Hoffman, communications and outreach manager for the Lake George Land Conservancy, said her group saw an increase in hiking.

"A lot of that can be attributed to the Pinnacle Preserve in Bolton," she said. "Whether it was the weather or word-of-mouth, it has quickly become a popular destination."

The view from Pinnacle's top offers a panoramic view of Lake George.

As summer fades into fall, many look forward to red, orange and yellow leaves in the trees. This year's weather has meant "tar spot," a type of fungus that can put brown or black color on leaves, for Norway maples. Red and silver maples also can be affected.

"The fungus attacks the leaves of the tree," said Justin Perry, chief of the bureau of invasive species and ecosystem health for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "Then late in the season, when the tree sort of shuts down its defenses and no longer defends against the fungus, the fungus essentially 'blooms' and creates that tar spot, which is actually releasing its spores."

For the most part, Perry added, trees are able to fend off the fungus until late in the season. Not all foliage is affected, so there's still color in the fall.

Perry added that tar spot fungi are more prevalent or noticeable in late spring or early summer, if those seasons have been wet. "Which is very much what we've had this year," he said.

"The tree is usually very capable of defending itself against tar spot but it becomes noticeable late in the season around now, when the tree's leaf functions are shutting down," Perry said. "That's why the tar spot itself, although it looks ugly, doesn't really impact the health of the tree significantly."

People with browning or black-spot leaves in their trees can't do anything now to stop the spores. They can take action in the fall to give their trees a little help next year.

"The best way to minimize the next year's potential spread of tar spot is to rake your leaves up and clean up your yard and don't leave the leaves around to give them an opportunity for the spores to spread to the new leaf growth the following spring," Perry said.

That means no more mulching leaves. It means getting rid of them.

"Unfortunately, just spreading the leaves around or chopping them up does not effectively control the spores themselves," Perry said.

He said municipal collection is the best way. Large compost piles will generate enough heat to destroy the fungus.

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124, [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. 

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