Summer in most of Georgia was hot and dry but not extremely so. In Atlanta at the Hartsfield official weather station June was a very significant 4.6 degrees warmer than normal with rainfall 44% above average. July was 2.3 degrees above normal with rainfall 15% below normal. August saw temperatures average a significant 3.9 degrees above normal with rainfall 10% below average. The highest official temperature of the summer was 97F. 71% of the summer saw a daytime high of 90 or above, there were 65 out of 92 summer days with a high of 90 or above. At the airport the 3-month period averaged 3.6 degrees above normal (combination of daily highs and daily lows), and 3-month rainfall averaged 6% above normal.
See the slide show maps for a visual of the temperature and rainfall departure from normal across all of Georgia and the Southeast.
Here is a statement just released by the state climatologist of Georgia...
"This past summer was one of the warmest on record for Georgia. It wasn't that the daytime high temperatures were that unusual; it was the warm nighttime temperatures that set records.
Meteorologists and climatologists define summer as the months of June, July and August. Almost all locations in Georgia had record to near-record warm nights for this time period.
Locations with at least 60 years of climate data that experienced record warm average daily minimum temperatures, which typically indicates nighttime temperatures, include Atlanta (132 years of climate data), Jasper (68 years), Gainesville, (109 years), Toccoa (107 years), Athens (67 years), Augusta - Bush Field (67 years), Waynesboro (75 years), Louisville (98 years), Macon (80 years), Columbus (63 years), Camilla (70 years), Moultrie (83 years), Brooklet (84 years), and Alma (62 years).
Locations with at least 60 years of climate data that experienced the second warmest summer average daily minimum temperatures include Cedartown (73 years of climate data), Tifton (89 years), Brunswick - McKinnon (62 years), and Sunnyside/Waycross (101 years). The third warmest average daily minimum temperatures were reported at Clayton (109 years), Lafayette (68 years), and Milledgeville (104 years). The fourth warmest average summer nights were recorded at Eastman (105 years), and Savannah (137 years).
These warm nights tell us little about global warming or climate change. Global warming is seen in long-term trends. A warm or cold month, season or year tells us very little about global warming or climate change.
However, warm nighttime temperatures are what we expect with human-induced global warming. If these abnormally warm nights continue over the next several years, then we have good evidence supporting human-induced global warming or climate change.
Based on preliminary data, of 27 locations with at least 60 years of climate data, only 9 locations had average daily maximum temperatures (which typically indicates daytime temperatures) that ranked in the top 5 warmest years for those locations. These 9 included the urban stations of Atlanta, which had the fifth warmest average daily maximum temperatures, and Athens, which had its third warmest average daily maximum temperatures. Columbus had its warmest average daily maximum temperatures ever. Brunswick - McKinnon had its third warmest. And Savannah tied its third warmest ever.
Only four rural locations had average daily maximum temperatures in the top 5 warmest years. Waynesboro had its warmest average summer maximum temperatures in 75 years. Brooklet experienced its warmest in 84 years of records. It was the second warmest in Sunnyside/Waycross in 101 years. Alma experienced its third warmest in 62 years.
Air conditioning cooling demands for buildings were above normal statewide. Cooling demand was 28 percent above normal in Atlanta, 26 percent for Athens, 23 percent for Columbus, 21 percent for Macon, 23 percent for Augusta, 18 percent for Savannah, 16 percent for Alma, and 18 percent for Brunswick.
Compared to last summer, cooling demand was 23 percent higher in Atlanta, 16 percent in Athens, 27 percent in Columbus, 19 percent in Macon, 17 percent in Augusta, 15 percent in Savannah, 12 percent in Alma, and 13 percent in Brunswick."
How did my long-range forecast for summer perform? Here is what I wrote way back on APRIL 8th when it was still cold:
"If the La Nina comes on faster and stronger it would increase the odds of more widespread heat and drought from the nations midsection to the SE USA. But for now the Summer in Georgia looks warmer than normal but nothing extreme when averaged out over the 90-day June-August period, with rainfall for the summer months near-normal."
And I wrote on MAY 23rd:
"But most of the country looks to have a normal to above normal summer temperature regime. On a national basis it looks to be the warmest summer in 2-5 years. Focusing on Georgia as a whole for the June through August period on average, the summer looks fairly close to average especially for rainfall, with temps a little warmer than normal but not extreme for the 90-day period. On the order of a half to one degree Fahrenheit. The least likely outcome is for a chilly summer in Atlanta. A rainy summer in Atlanta also looks unlikely unless tropical systems unexpectedly aim repeatedly our way. If the LA NINA develops much faster than currently expected or becomes much stronger than expected prior to September then the odds of a hot dry summer with drought and some long heat waves would go higher".
Of course we know now the LA NINA did come on strong and fast and tilted the summer warm and dry, but not too dry thanks to higher than normal humidity which kept at least scattered late day thundershowers in the region. Rainfall met expectations of being plus or minus 10% and temperatures were warmer than normal as expected, but by more than I forecast since I thought La Nina would evolve more slowly, but I knew and stated if it came on faster we would have more heat.
Now that the past is in the books it is time to look ahead to Fall and Winter. Stay tuned. THE MAPS ARE HERE JUST CLICK TO VIEW.