ELKHART — So far, this has not been an ideal summer at the beach.
On a typical hot summer day in July, Elkhart park employees can expect to see upward of 150 people pass through the gates at Ideal Beach north of the city.
But at noon on Wednesday, July 30 — with the temperature barely cracking 70 degrees — there were fewer than 40 people in the entire park alongside Heaton Lake.
Park employee Jessica Cain said she’s noticed smaller crowds that are less inclined to stay for long stretches of time, which has cut into concessional sales this year.
“This is definitely an unusual kind of summer, weather wise,” Cain said Wednesday while overseeing concessions.
Indeed, the month of July has been one of the coldest on record for northern Indiana.
Fort Wayne is on track to have its second coldest month of July while it will likely be the third coldest on record in South Bend.
The average temperature in South Bend so far in July has been 68.7. The record set in 2009 was 68.3, according to Mike Hoffman, meteorologist for WNDU.
Twice this month, South Bend has seen record cool highs, including Monday when the high reached just 64 degrees, Hoffman said.
So far, temps have only reached into the 90s twice this summer, according to the National Weather Service.
The reason for the cool weather is the same that caused record cold conditions last winter — a jet stream that pushes up into Canada and provides cooler air over the Midwest and eastern portions of the United States, Hoffman said.
That cool air has brought with it dryer conditions resulting in less rainfall in recent weeks.
South Bend and Fort Wayne have seen less than two inches of rain in July, which is about half of the normal amount.
The jet stream is also sheltering the Midwest from the extreme heat seen on the West Coast, Hoffman said.
Cool air will continue to dominate the weather locally for at least a few more days.
High temps for Thursday through Saturday are expected to be in the upper 70s and lows will be near 60, according to the National Weather Service.
That general trend will continue through Tuesday, according to the weather service forecast.