It’s always hard to believe when it happens, but we’ve just about reached the traditional end of summer (meteorological and psychological summer, that is — we still have about three weeks before astronomical summer comes to an end). That means it’s time to see how this summer’s average temperature (June, July, August) stacks up against the historical record.
Was it hotter than average? Colder? About in the middle? For the nation, the answer is . . . yes, depending on where you live. An average for our region shows it cooler than average, but not quite as cool as some may think. Even with rounds of record cold air this summer, none of the cities analyzed in this report is close to setting a record low for the entire season. Meanwhile, there are some cities across the West that are sizzling through one of their hottest summers on record.
For the planet it was a warm summer which continues the trend of recent warm weather. Over a period of time, the warming trend is obvious.
Across the West and Southwest, most cities were baking this summer. As of Aug. 24 (when we ran these numbers), Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and Fresno, Calif., are all on track for one of their hottest summers ever recorded. When you move out into the Plains and Midwest, the seasonal rankings drop. Moline, Ill., Milwaukee, and Cincinnati are wrapping up an unusually cool summer. However, Chicago and Detroit were below average but not by that much and Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn., were above average.
The Southeast also experienced a range of temperature outcomes. This summer has been well below average in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., as the weather pattern kept a stream of cool air coming their way. However, Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., were neither especially hot nor cold, while temperatures start jumping up when you get to the other side of the Appalachians. Both Charleston and Columbia, S.C., are at the high end of summer temperature rankings.
There were a lot of people in the Northeast who thought this was such a cool summer. And in Baltimore, temperatures were well below average. But that was the exception for big Northeast cities. Richmond, Va., Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston all came in warmer than average while New York City was close to average.