Hot or not? Breaking down summer temps

WASHINGTON – What a summer we’ve had. It even continued into the beginning of September with five out of the first seven days at 90 degrees or higher.

However, we had our fair share of nice stretches of 70/80 degree days with low humidity and then just a few consecutive days that led to oppressive heat.

While it seems we may have had a mild summer, the numbers will divulge the truth. The devil is in the details and the details tell a different story.

I was even surprised with my findings. Thank goodness the National Weather Service breaks down all sorts of information from each month to let us know exactly what happened. Let me break it down for you to see about this “mild” summer — or was it?

In Washington, D.C. (measured at Ronald Reagan National Airport or DCA):

June

  • Average Temperature: 75.2
  • Observed Temperature: 77.2
  • June was 2 degrees above normal
  • There were four days at 90 degrees or above. This is the fewest since 2009 when there were only two day at or above 90 degrees.
  • One heatwave from June 16 to June 18. A heatwave is defined as three or more consecutive days at 90 or above
  • Starting in June 2010 and each June thereafter, temperatures have measured above normal

July

  • Average Temperature: 79.8
  • Observed Temperature: 79.4
  • July was -0.4 degrees below normal
  • Coolest July since 2009
  • There were nine days at 90 degrees or above
  • Two heat waves were recorded in July: July 1 to July 3 and July 12 to July 14
  • The overnight low of 60 degrees on July 30 was the coolest July temperature since July 12, 2002, when a temperature of 60 degrees was recorded
  • No records were broken this month

August

  • Average Temperature: 78.1
  • Observed Temperature: 77.7
  • August was -0.4 degrees below normal
  • There were three days at or above 90 degrees
  • One heat wave was recorded that led into September, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2
  • August, 2014, had the fewest number of 90-plus degree days since 2004 when there was only one

For the meteorological summer (June 2014 – August 2014), the temperature, believe it or not, was 0.4 degrees ABOVE our average summer temperature. Our normal temperature for summer is 77.7 degrees and we top out around 78.2 for an average temperature.

According to my calculations, with an average summer temperature of 77.7 degrees, it was the 114th coolest summer out of 144 summers on record dating back to 1871. In other words, DCA had the 30th warmest summer on record from records dating back to 1871 (thank you warm overnight lows that factored into the average).

At Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County, Virginia:

June

  • Average Temperature: 72.4
  • Observed Temperature: 72.4
  • Observed Temperature right on par with our normal temperature for June.
  • There were 3 days at 90 degrees or above
  • 1 heat wave was recorded June 16 – June 18

July

  • Average Temperature: 76.7
  • Observed Temperature: 74.2
  • July was 2.5 degrees below normal
  • This was the coldest July since 2001
  • There were 5 days with temperatures at 90 or above
  • Three daily low records were set: 2 overnight lows in the 50s, 1 overnight low at 48 degrees 7/30
  • July 30 overnight low of 48 degrees was the coolest since 6/12/02 with and overnight low of 47 degrees

August

  • Average Temperature: 75.4
  • Observed Temperature: 71.8
  • August was 3.6 degrees below normal
  • There was one day at 90 degrees or above. The last time there was only one day with a temp of 90 or more in the month of August was 2000.

For the meteorological summer (June 2014- August 2014), the temperature was 2.0 degrees below normal. Our normal temperature for summer is at Dulles Airport is 74.8 degrees. This summer Dulles measured a temperature of 72.8 degrees. That is a pretty cool summer for the Dulles area. For Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County, the numbers tell a different tale. Considering this summer was 2.0 degrees below our normal temperature, Dulles Airport had the 11th coolest summer on record with records only going back to 1964.

At Baltimore-Washington Airport:

June

  • Average Temperature: 72.4
  • Observed Temperature: 73.2
  • June was 0.8 degrees above average
  • There were three days at or above 90 degrees
  • There was one heat wave from June 16 to June 18

July

  • Average Temperature: 77.0
  • Observed Temperature: 75.6
  • July was 1.4 degrees below normal
  • There were six days at 90 or above
  • This was the coolest July since 2009

August

  • Average Temperature: 75.1
  • Observed Temperature: 72.5
  • August was 2.6 degrees BELOW normal
  • There was one day the measured 90 degrees or above (92 degrees, Aug. 30)
  • The last time August saw only one 90-plus degree day was in 2000
  • 7.90 inches of rain fell during August, making it the 14th wettest on record

For the meteorological summer (June 2014- August 2014), Baltimore-Washington International Airport was 1 degree below normal. The normal temperature recorded at this airport is 74.8 and the temperature recorded this summer was 73.8. In addition to that, five daily low records were broken and all temperatures were recorded in the 50s.

A very cool and wet one for the Baltimore area! The summertime average was 73.8 degrees for the summer of 2014, which puts this summer as the 21st coolest since 1871.

In my next blog: What does this mean for this winter coming up? We take a look back at summer’s preceding historical winters.

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