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Kirk Mellish's Weather Commentary

Posted: 5:54 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8, 2011

Atlanta summer running hot but it's been worse 

By Kirk Mellish

The hottest years in Georgia 1934, 1954, 1980, 1986, 1993, 2007, and 2010 were all worse than this year in some form of heat extremes or another. There have been NO record breaking days in Atlanta yete this summer. Now doesn't that make you feel more comfortable already?  If not, the answer to when the heat will end is the same as last summer-- in the fall.

I have analyzed official National Weather Service data from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for this two-part report.

The month of May this year set the tone with 6 days reaching 90 degrees or better. In June Atlanta officially recorded 24 days of 90 or above, July 27 and so far in August 6 days. The total for summer so far is 57 days of 90 or better for a daily high temperature. May is considered a spring month.

What about 95 degree days or higher? May had none, June had 3, July had 6 and so far this month there have been three days of 95 or above-- for a total of 12 so far this summer.

There have been no official triple digit readings so far this summer, but August 3rd Peachtree-Dekalb airport recorded 100 and Athens was 102 while Hartsfield registered a maximum of 97.

How does this compare with last summer?

Based on official readings from Hartsfield Airport May of 2010 had two days that reached 90 with no 95 or better days. June of that year had 19 days of 90 or above (5 less than this June) with two 95 degree days (1 fewer than this year). July of last year saw 22 days of 90 or above (5 more this year), including 8 of 95 or higher (2 less this year) and no triple digits. August of 2010 registered 23 days of 90 plus weather including 5 days of 95 or above and again no 100 readings. September of last year went on to record 19 more days of 90-plus including 3 days of 95 or higher. It didn't cool off until the final days of September last year. October went on to be its usual beautiful self.

So this June saw 5 more 90 degree days and 1 day more of 95-plus than last year. This July counts 27 90-plus days compared to 22 such days last year (5 more), with 6 days of 95-plus this July versus 8 last July (2 less).

Thus far in August 2011 we have had six 90 degree days including three of 95 or above. Neither this year (thus far) nor last year register an official triple digit reading at the airport.

The total number of SUMMER DAYS last year of 90 or above was 64! So far this year 57. The summer total last year for 95 or higher was 15 days. This year so far 12. So we are on pace this summer to be as hot or hotter than last summer by most but not all measures-- if the rest of August does not change. While hotter than normal, many past years have been much worse than this year or last year.

I think it interesting to note that back to back hotter than normal summers have followed back to back colder than normal winters, or preceeded them if you prefer. IF the pattern holds then this winter would be expected to average below-normal again.

Keep in mind I am only using the June through August meteorolgocal summer period and not tracking spring or fall 90s.

We are running above the long-term climate average of 90 days and 95 days. The average for a 100 reading is just 1 day per summer but many years do not reach or exceed that so it skews the mean.

One more comparision of this summer vs. last on heat waves/hot streaks, or consecutive days of 90 or more: Last year saw a hot spell of 19 strait days of 90 or above (in June). This summer the longest streak of summer is 16 consecutive days of 90 or above-- from July 19th to August 3rd, so we come up 3 short this summer compared to last. The hottest temperature all last summer was 97. So far this year the hottest official reading has been-- 97.

The mean temperature in JUNE (highs and lows) was 81F which was a whopping 4.4F above-normal. The average temperature (high and low added then divided by two) in JULY was 82F, which is 2.4F above normal. Therefore the trend was to start out very hot and trending down slowly since. If that trend holds August will come in closer to the 30 year normal. Thus far summer 2011 is averaging 3.4 degrees warmer than normal. Last summer ended up averaging +3.6F using both high and low temperatures together for the mean.

I suspect if we looked only at daily maximum temperatues and did not include elevated night readings the temperatures would be closer to normal but still above.

Tomorrow we look deeper into what historically is normal for hot weather in Atlanta. From my first look at the numbers I'll tell you this, if you don't like it hot, you need to move way north.

Continue reading on Examiner.comAtlanta summer running hot but it's been worse - Atlanta Weather | Examiner.com

Kirk Mellish

About Kirk Mellish

Kirk Mellish is Atlanta's first and only full-time radio meteorologist. He's also the FIRST broadcast meteorologist in Georgia and the Southeast to earn the American Meteorological Society's new Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) designation.

Send Kirk Mellish an email.



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