Warm Summer in U.S. Ends With Record Heat in South, Widespread Drought Continues in Southeast, West

Friday, September 14th 2007, 6:15 pm
By: News On 6

The June-August 2007 summer season ended with a long-lasting heat wave that set more than 2,000 new daily high temperature records across the southern and central U.S., according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The record heat helped make this the second warmest August and the sixth warmest summer on record for the contiguous U.S., based on preliminary data. At the end of August, drought affected almost half of the continental U.S. The global surface temperature was seventh warmest on record for the June-August period.

U.S. Temperature Highlights for Summer
--For summer 2007 (June-August), the average temperature for the continental U.S., based on preliminary data, was 73.8 degrees F (23.2 degrees C), which was 1.7 degrees F (1.0 degrees C) above the 20th century mean and the sixth warmest summer since national records began in 1895.

--This was the warmest summer for Utah and Nevada and it ranked in the top 10 warmest summers on record for 11 other states. Alaska had its fourth warmest summer on record. Only Texas and Oklahoma were cooler than average.

--The much warmer-than-average conditions n the Southeast and throughout the West contributed to above average residential energy demand for the nation. Using the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI – an index developed at NOAA to relate energy usage to climate), the nation’s residential energy demand was approximately 8 percent higher than what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the season.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights for Summer
--Overall, the summer was drier than average for the nation. Rainfall was below average in the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley, the northern Plains, and Northern Rockies.

--Texas had its wettest summer on record and Oklahoma its fourth wettest. The unusually wet period was punctuated by heavy and persistent rains in June and July that produced devastating flooding in the region. In the Southeast, this was the driest summer since records began in 1895 for North Carolina and the second driest for Tennessee.

--A hot and dry July in the Northern Rockies contributed to a fast start to the wildfire season, and August remained very active as warmer and drier-than-average conditions persisted in many areas. By early September, more than 7 million acres had burned across the nation, most of it in the western U.S.