USA — As September begins to bring cooler temperatures, Americans can look back objectively at the past summer (June-August). The above average temperatures in the contiguous states combined to make it the fourth warmest ever. Only seven of the lower 48 states had normal temperatures, and 29 were much above normal. This news is detailed in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) State of the Climate report issued on September 8, 2010.
The analysis of climatic factors temperature, precipitation, storm patterns has been conducted since 1895, and all current recordings are compared to the historic long-term average (1901-2000). The report is compiled in Asheville, NC, at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
The following are highlights from the summer in the United States.
The Southeast experienced their warmest summer ever, the Central states had their third warmest, and the Northeast had their fourth warmest. The Pacific Western states experienced near-normal temperatures. The unusual warmth mostly dominated the eastern half of the country.
The following states set records for the warmest summer ever: Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Particular cities that set summer temperature records include the following: New York City (Central Park), Philadelphia, Trenton NJ, Wilmington DE, Tallahassee FL, and Asheville NC.
The hot summer also brought about abnormal precipitation trends for parts of the country. Heavy rainfall dominated the Upper Midwest, making up for the precipitation deficits of the first five months of the year. Wisconsin had its wettest summer on record, with 6.91 inches of rainfall above average. Other states in the top-ten wettest summers include Michigan and Iowa (third wettest), Illinois and Nebraska (sixth), South Dakota (ninth), and Minnesota (tenth).
Conversely, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic suffered a persistent lack of rainfall. A lingering high pressure system and lack of tropical weather activity contributed to below average levels of precipitation. This caused severe drought in several states such as Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. However, the heavy precipitation in the Upper Midwest helped pull the national precipitation level above average for this summer.
The following are year-to-date highlights.
The Northeast has experienced its warmest year, with temperatures 3.4 degrees F over the norm. Only two states had below normal temperatures: Florida and Texas. As for precipitation, the drought in the south offset the deluge in the north, leading to near-normal precipitation levels for the year.
Other weather highlights include tornado activity, particularly in Minnesota. The state is set to break its own record of 74 tornadoes, set in 2001. Also, wildfire was much lower than average, thanks to milder weather in the Western states. The acreage burned during August was the lowest in 11 years, and year-to-date, it was less than half the long-term average.