Warm West, cool East
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite the near absence of record heat across the contiguous 48 states, the summer of 2013 (June-August) ranked as the eighth-warmest on record, with an average temperature of 72.6 degrees, about 1.2 degrees warmer than the 20th century norm.
The data tallied by the National Climatic Data Center suggests an era of new normals, with temperatures running well above historic averages even in non-El Niño years. Taken separately, August 2013 was the 28th-warmest on record with an average temperature of 73..1 degrees, 1 degree above the 20th century average. Read the full report here.
The Alaska statewide average summer temperature was 2.7 degrees above the 1971-2000 average and ranked as the second warmest summer in the 96-year period of record for the state. The warmest June-August occurred in 2004 when the statewide temperature was 4.1 degrees above average.
Precipitation across the lower 48 states was also well above average, making it the wettest summer since 2004. Average rainfall for the summer was 9.53 inches, 1.28 inches above the 20th century norm.
The summer-long pattern of below average temps across parts of the East, especially the Southeast, continued into August, with that same region seeing well above-average rainfall.
The only areas east of the Mississippi reporting above average temperatures were on the northeastern seaboard, especially along the coast of northern New England, where an area of particularly warm ocean waters helped generate record and near record warmth in coastal Maine.
By contrast, large parts of the west saw temperatures running well above average for most of the summer, with a strip of record-setting heat in western Utah up into southern Idaho. Much of Nevada, southern and central California and the Pacific Northwest reported near-record warmth.
California is reporting the record-driest year to-date, but saw some minor, temporary relief after a dry winter, with precipitation well above average in the central part of the state, extending down into the SoCal deserts. The monsoon rains in California won’t do much to offset the winter snow deficit, but did help bolster Sierra streamflows during the summer, especially in the central Sierra Nevada.
Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for August 2013, published online September 2013, retrieved on September 12, 2013 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2013/8.