Summer's here: Heat isn't

With the solstice at 1:04 a.m. our time, the astronomical summer officially arrived this morning -- late last night in the hotter West -- and this is going to be splendid opening day, dry and comfortable.

As we've reported, this has been the second-wettest June on record, with 8.31 inches of rain recorded so far officially in Philadelphia, and that might have something to do with the overall lack of serious heat.

We haven't seen 90-plus since June 1, at the end of a short early-season heat wave. Looking ahead, a few low-90s days are possible early next week, but then the models appear to be suggesting a cooling trend for the East.

The extreme heat has been baking the West, while conditions have remained wet and mostly temperate around here.

June temperatures likely will finish above normal in Philadelphia, but not all that much. So far, Philly is running less than a degree above normal.

Some of the commercial services, Accu-Weather Inc. and WSI Corp., for example, have called for a near-normal summer, maybe slightlhy on the warm side. They did the same last year, and, of course, were way off.

The government's Climate Prediction Center's forecast was on the warm side, as it was last year, correctly as it turned out.

Tony Gigi at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly dug through the archives and found five cases in which conditions leading into the summer were similar to this one: April and May temperatures above normal, and sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific near normal.

In three of those instances -- 1980, 1991, and 1993 -- summers were brutallly hot; the other two were so-so.

As we've learned in summers past, heat can fire up in a hurry. For now, however, things look decent heading into the heart of the hot season.