All eyes are on Brazil this week, but there are many other activities and events. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, you’ll want to know whether to bring sunscreen or an umbrella – and why.
Major Sporting Event: World Cup, Brazil
The general forecast for the World Cup is for widespread craziness, scattered grimaces, and a few GOOOOOOOOOOALs. Then there’s the weather.
FIFA, the body that oversees international soccer, is often criticized. But its choice of Brazil to host the 2014 World Cup was wise, weather-wise. The southern hemisphere is approaching the dead of winter, and temperature, humidity, and rainfall are all in the acceptable ranges.
Naturally, with venues spread over thousands of miles, there will be some variation in the weather. But most of the locations will have conditions that are about as good as you can expect for a month-long event. Here’s why:
Brazil’s Weather Patterns
If you dropped a penny randomly on the northern hemisphere, it would settle in the ocean about 60% of the time; if you did the same thing in the southern hemisphere, the odds are 80%, and that includes Antarctica. This makes an enormous difference when it comes to the weather.
Unlike land, water absorbs the sun’s heat and distributes it efficiently. So in the southern hemisphere, much more of the heat generated by the sun ends up in the deep ocean — surface water temperatures change relatively little. Air temperature, particularly near the water, fluctuates less in the southern than in the northern hemisphere, where more of the sun’s heat is trapped at the surface of the land and transferred to the lower atmosphere. The temperature differences between night and day, and between summer and winter, are smaller in the southern hemisphere.
At this time of year, the temperature near Rio de Janeiro averages about 80 in the daytime and 65 at night; there is little rain. Most of the venues will experience this fine weather. The few stadia farther south, closer to the equator, will be warmer; but the only place where temperature might be a serious problem is Manaus, which is far inland, away from the effects of the sea.
Game Of The Weekend: England vs. Italy. The Decoded Science pick-of-the-weekend is the match between the displaced Europeans at 6 p.m. Saturday (EDT). This match is scheduled for Manaus, so heat could be a factor.
Major Sporting Event: US Open Golf Tournament, Pinehurst, NC
If Soccer isn’t your thing, the US Open Golf Tournament’s final two rounds are on Saturday and Sunday. The play both days could be interrupted by afternoon thunderstorms — nothing unusual for central North Carolina at this time of year.
With the sun nearing the northern end of its range and nearly overhead at midday in this location, daytime heating is intense; afternoon thunderstorms can pop up almost anywhere. This year’s active weather pattern increases the chance of rain, and allows for the possibility of a disruption of play.
Individual Activities: Baking On The Beach And Boating
The weather has settled down, the water is warming up (the Great Lakes are finally ice-free), and there’s a general exodus of city-dwellers to the seashore. Most coastal locations will have nice weather, but there’s always a chance of an afternoon shower.
The following is the general pattern of water temperatures. Keep in mind that shallow beaches can be considerably warmer, and offshore winds can bring up colder water from below.
- The entire Gulf of Mexico and east coast north to South Carolina will have water in the 80-degree range.
- Virginia to New Jersey will have water in the 70s.
- Long Island to Cape Cod’s water will be in the 60s.
- Northern New England will have water in the 50-degree range.
- The west coast, to the north of Santa Barbara, will also have water in the 50s.
- The west coast, to the south of Santa Barbara will have slightly warmer water, in the 60s.
- The Great Lakes will have water temperatures in the 50s and 60s, but it will be very dependent on wind direction.
Winds this weekend will be generally favorable for small boats except on the western Great Lakes, where winds could be strong, and the northern Pacific coast, where winds away from shore kick up turbulent seas.
Family Activity: Picnic And Barbecue Weather
Looking forward to family activities? Keep an eye on the weather for your location.
- Where there’s no problem: Entire west coast except the far northwest, including inland as far as New Mexico; midwest Saturday and eastern Great Lakes to the east coast Sunday.
- Where you should have an umbrella handy: Entire southeast, and northwest Pacific coast.
- Where you should be prepared for a washout: Great Plains and Rocky Mountains Saturday moving east on Sunday.
Major League Baseball: Matchup Of The Week
The Colorado Rockies, featuring the major leagues’ batting leader Troy Tulowitzki, invade Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco Giants, currently the best team in baseball. Both Saturday and Sunday will be perfect for baseball in the Bay Area. The summer pattern brings dry weather to northern California (maybe too dry), and a wind off the cool Pacific Ocean (water temperatures in the 50s) keeps the temperature comfortable.
US Festival Pick Of The Week: Back To The Chattahoochee (GA) River Race & Festival
White water enthusiasts might like to join the rafters here. Thunderstorms with some heavy downpours are possible, but what the heck — you’re in the water anyway.
European Festival Pick Of The Week: Sonar Music Festival, Barcelona, Spain
The influence of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea keeps temperatures moderate here in the summer. Near 80 with no rain. Whether you pronounce the ‘c’ in Barcelona as an ‘s’ or a ‘th,’ it’s not a bad place to be.
Far Out Participation Sport Of The Week: Hang Ten
Surfers will want to head for Acapulco this weekend, where Hurricane Cristina has riled the ocean and is producing ten foot rollers. Air and water temperatures are in the 80s, with no rain.
Those seeking a more exotic venue can surf in Oman, Pakistan, or the northern coast of India, where waves will be kicked up by tropical Cyclone Nanauk in the northern Indian Ocean.
A Reason To Party
With all that’s going on, you should have no trouble having a fun-filled weekend. But if you can’t find any other reason to raise a glass, how about this: It will be the last weekend for six months on which Sunday will have longer daylight than Saturday. Cheers!