Will this be the hottest summer on record?

Our remarkably warm summer continues to take aim at some all-time record measures of heat here in Madison.

Just as we poked into the severe drought category on July 18, we were visited by fairly widespread heavy rains that night that delivered 1.43 inches of rain to Dane County Regional Airport. The morning of July 24 brought another 0.56 inches of rain and still more came that night into the morning of July 25. Thus, at least some relief of the drought has recently come our way.

Through the end of the day on July 24, Madison had had 28 days with high temperatures at or above 90 degrees. The all-time record number of such days is 40 recorded in 1955 (two were in June, 19 were in July, 15 were in August and four were in September that year).

In the last 41 years, only six summers (1975, 1976, 1983, 1988, 1995 and 2012) have had 20 or more such days. Of the five such summers before this one, the number of days at or above 90 degrees after July 31 was seven, 10, six, 16, and 10, respectively.

In other words, in such warm summers in the past, we have averaged 9.8 days at or above 90 in August and September. Given that we are very likely to have totaled 30 such days by the end of this July, if past trends in such years apply to 2012, it is quite likely that this summer will set the all-time record for most days at or above 90 degrees in Madison.

Category: Climate
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