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U.S. wraps up record summer lows

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

The USA’s summer was cooler than average in 2009, for only the second time this decade, according to data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Several Midwest states — including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota— recorded one of their 10 coldest summers on record. Northwestern Pennsylvania recorded its coldest summer ever. Climate records date to 1895.

At the nation’s largest outdoor water park in Wisconsin, “every Saturday but one had an issue with rain, wind or just plain cold,” says Tim Gantz, president and co-owner of Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. He added that summer business was down slightly overall, and that one Saturday all 2,000 of the park’s wet suits were in use by customers.

July was the second-coldest on record in Wisconsin.

The culprit for the cold? “A recurring trough of low pressure across the central USA and interior Canada, which was there throughout the summer,” says Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Low pressure causes clouds to form, keeping temperatures cool.

The chill continued into August, as temperatures were below normal across the Midwest, Plains and parts of the South. More than 300 low-temperature records were set across the Midwest during the last two days of August.

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