One of the hottest summers of all-time is over. Here’s what we’re expecting in fall
A myriad of heat-related records fell in Summer 2022 but 2011 is still top-dog
Congratulations, y’all! You’ve lived through one of the hottest summers in Central Texas history! Summer 2022 will go down in the history books as one of the hottest and driest. In fact, were it not for a rainier weather pattern emerging for the last two weeks of August, we could have made a run on summer’s top-dog, 2011, for hottest summer of all time.
Wait... Doesn’t fall start on September 22nd?
Well, yes. Astronomical fall begins on September 22nd at 8:03 PM and it’s the exact point in which the center of the sun crosses the equator. Instead of starting a season based on where the center of the sun is (which is NOT always at the same time), the four meteorological seasons are based on temperature. Today, September 1st, is the start of meteorological fall which, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the middle three month period (September, October, and November) between the hottest and coldest three month period.
The three hottest summers in Central Texas history have all occurred within the last 11 years
The average high temperature for summer is 95.5°. Summer 2022, for only the third time in recorded history, had an average high temperature of 100° or higher! Summer 2022′s average high was 100.3° which places it just barely above 2018′s average high of 100.0°. The summer of 2011 still reigns supreme with an average high of 102.7°! Before 2011′s exceptionally hot summer, the average high temperature for the season had never rose above 99.5°.
Embedded within what is the second hottest summer on record is the hottest July of all-time with an average high of 103.7° and the 4th hottest June ever with an average high of 99.0°. August’s average high of only 98.3° was so “cool” that it there were 33 other Augusts that were hotter.
Although the average high is a good bellwether for how oppressive the summer was, we also measure the month by the average low temperature and the average overall temperature. On average, the low temperature in Summer 2022 was 76.8° which is 7th highest all time. The average temperature, the average high and low combined, clocked in at 88.6° making it the third hottest summer all-time. Only 1928 (88.7°) and 2011 (90.5°) had an average temperature hotter than what we experienced this year.
Summer 2022 was among the driest ever until it wasn’t
Here’s a fact that may be a bit unbelievable: it has been one full year since Central Texas has recorded a monthly rainfall surplus. August 2021 was the last month (until August 2022) that featured more rain than is normally expected. From August 17th to August 31st, 2.54″ of rain fell and propelled us above the August average of 2.05″.
The last half of August came at just the perfect time to get Summer 2022 out of the top-10 list for driest summers of all-time. Through August 16th, Summer 2022 was in 3rd place for driest summers of all time with only 0.87″ of rain! Now, Summer 2022 goes into the history books as the 27th driest of all-time!
So when can I break out the flannel?!
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas decorations are popping up in stores and you’re probably paying more for that Pumpkin Spice Latte, but you probably haven’t even considered breaking out the sweaters and coats just yet. September is technically a fall month, but we really don’t start to see any substantial temperature changes until the end of the month and into October when cold fronts start diving deeper into the United States.
On a fairly average day (and not one with a ton of clouds or rain), our high temperature won’t dip into the 80s until September 21st and 70s on average start showing up in late October. Morning low temperatures will start to get more refreshing soon as the average low drops into the 60s September 7th, into the 50s October 8th, and into the 40s November 4th so jacket and sweater weather isn’t that far away, but we still have some time to go. Forecasters are expecting the third fall & winter in a row with La Niña conditions.
During La Niña years, the near-equatorial waters off the west coast of South America are much cooler than normal. The cooler sea-surface temperatures have a more pronounced Central Texas impact during winter, but we typically see warmer than normal and drier than normal conditions since the Pacific jetstream and polar jetstream set up farther north than normal.
This fall should follow that of a traditional La Niña year. Texas is still under the threat of seeing a tropical storm or hurricane through about mid-October when cold front season starts, but we are expecting warmer-than-normal and drier-than-normal conditions. In fact, much of the United States is forecast to see slightly warmer-than-normal temperatures this fall with a slight chance for much of the country to be drier-than-normal. The driest and hottest conditions are mostly focused near the Rockies and the mid-Mississippi River Valley.
Official climate records are kept by the National Weather Service Office in Fort Worth for the Waco Regional Airport (KACT). Other cities and towns may have unofficial records, but KWTX uses the official climate records in determining weather averages.
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