U.S. experiences 5th warmest summer on record

Lower 48 also had 3rd warmest year to date and second wettest August
September 8, 2016
A Livingston Parish deputy sheriff surveys flood damage from a boat on August 15, 2016.

An oppressively hot Summer 2016 for many across the contiguous United States tied 2006 as the 5th warmest in 122 years of record keeping. 

The average summer U.S. temperature was 73.5 degrees F, 2.1 degrees above average, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Every state in the continental U.S. and Alaska were warmer than average this summer. Precipitation totalled 0.60 inch above average, making summer the 24th wettest on record.

The month of August was the 17th warmest on record, with an average temperature across the Lower 48 of 73.6 degrees F, 1.5 degrees above average. Twenty-four states were much warmer than average. The precipitation total for the month was 0.85 inch above average, making this August the second wettest.

The year to date (January-August) for the contiguous U.S. was the 3rd warmest on record with an average temperature of 56.7 degrees F, 2.8 degrees above average. All Lower 48 states and Alaska observed above-average temperatures during this eight-month period. 

A map of significant climate events that occurred across the U.S. during the month of August and Summer 2016.
A map of significant climate events that occurred across the U.S. during the month of August and Summer 2016. (NOAA

Other notable climate events included: 

  • Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: Eight states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, had a record warm August. Connecticut and Rhode Island had their warmest summer on record.
  • California had its warmest summer on record, which contributed to an active wildfire season. 
  • Alaska experienced its third warmest August, second warmest summer and was record warm for the year to date at 7.6 degrees F above average.
  • Louisiana: In mid-August, a storm system dropped more than 30 inches of rain on parts of the state that caused record flooding and at least 13 deaths. 

More: Find NOAA’s report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.

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