How hot has it been this summer? | Weather
This summer has been, by many measures, a brutal one in much of the lower 48 states.
Record heat and a pervasive drought have been in the headlines since the late spring and the toll on agriculture has been high. Lives have been lost due to the heat and the cost of some grocery items has been on the rise due to the lack of rain.
But if one pays attention to the national media reporting of the drought and heat, one might come to the conclusion that this has been an unprecedented event.
It has not. And it’s not even that close.
The severe (or worse) drought classification reached 45% of the contiguous United States this summer. During the infamous “dust bowl” era of the 1930s, nearly twice as much of the country was classified in a severe (or worse) drought.
Likewise, though it has been hot, scorchingly hot in some areas, the decade of the 1930s remains the hottest decade nationally in terms of all-time record high temperatures.
Particularly disturbing is when the national media talk of this nation’s heat and drought as a symptom of global warming when it has been, in fact, a global anomaly. In the United Kingdom, for example, residents just endured the wettest spring/early summer period since records began...in 1766. It was also one of the coolest periods on record.
Even here in Rochester, while the summer has been hot, let’s take a look at the data to see how hot.
So far, there has been 13 90 degree days this year compared to an average of 8. But this is not an unusually high number. In 1988, for example, there were 22 such days.
July in Rochester was hot…3.7 degrees warmer than normal. But it ranks as just the 10th warmest July on record, the warmest being in 1921. That July averaged 3.2 degrees warmer than this past July.
On July 17 the temperature in Rochester soared to 97 degrees, the highest for the summer do date and a record for the date, but still 5 degrees shy of the all-time annual record which was reached in 1936, twice. Additionally, this was the only record high that occurred during this past July.
Incidentally, this past June in Rochester, with no record high temperatures, averaged just 2.2 degrees warmer than normal and nearly 5 degrees cooler than the warmest June which occurred in 1949.
In terms of rainfall, while there was a brief period when our area was classified in a moderate drought, rainfall since June 1stood at 8.3 inches as of August 6, an inch above normal.
So, has the summer at times been hot and dry on a local and national basis? Absolutely.
Have the heat and drought been unprecedented on a local and national basis? Absolutely not.