U.S. Summer Climate Summary: A Brief Look at How Temperatures and Precipitation Data Stacks Up (sources: National Climatic Data Center, National Center for Environmental Information)
DISCUSSION: With meteorological fall 10 days in, it’s time to take a look at how this past summer stacked up against the climatological record for the contiguous United States in terms of temperature and precipitation. Overall, this was the 5th warmest summer (June through August) in the contiguous United States since 1895. The average temperature was 73.5° F, 2.1° above the 21st Century average. June was particularly warm for the Southwestern United States, with an average temperature being 5.3° above average (67.6° F), making it the hottest June on record. August was also an impressively hot month, especially in the East (see the graphic above, courtesy of NCEI). It was the 4th hottest month on record for the Southeast, with an average temperature of 80.8°F compared to the 21st Century average of 78.0°F – a whole 2.8° departure! More impressively, with the few oppressive heat waves that hit the Northeast, it led to the hottest average temperature ever recorded August, 74.8°F, with a 4.4° departure from the 21st Century average.
Precipitation-wise, the contiguous United States was a little bit above average, experiencing their 24th wettest summer. The 21st Century average is 8.32 inches, and this summer’s average surpassed it by 0.60 inches at 8.92 inches. The Upper Midwest and the Ohio Valley had their 3rd and 7th wettest summers, respectively. For the Upper Midwest, they received 3.56 inches of above average rainfall; for the Ohio Valley, it was a little bit less, at 3.25 inches. Taking a look at Louisiana in particular (see the graphic below, courtesy of NCEI), they had their 3rd wettest summer with 9.18 inches above average. (For reference, 9.18 inches is a little less than the average precipitation the South would get for the entire summer!) Most of this precipitation was received during August when they received an incredible amount of rain in a few short days, which led to historic flooding. Their total rainfall for the month of August was 12.90 inches, which was 8.26 inches above average.
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©Meteorologist Katie McCracken