WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

A record we'd rather miss!

Posted July 25, 2011

Temperature outlook for the 6-10 day period from the Climate Prediction Center, showing above-normal readings likely across much of the country through early August.

The heat wave that's been so persistent across the eastern U.S. recently managed yesterday to bring us the record we'd been talking about since the middle of last week, as the temperature at RDU reached 100 degrees or higher for the 5th consecutive. Since records began at the airport in 1944, there have been two other occasions when we hit triple digits 4 days in a row. The first was 20-23 August 1983, and then more recently the same thing happened over the span of 7-10 June 2008. Now we've topped that list with 100, 102, 103, 103 and 101 degrees respectively over the period 20-24 July 2011.

It appears we have a good chance to end the streak today, with the high likely topping out in the upper 90s, but that's a close enough call that we can't guarantee that the record will not be extended by a day. So far for the year, we've had a total of 6 days reaching 100 or more, compared to a record of 12 back in 1999. It does look as if we could add a couple more such days to our total later this week or next, while beyond that we just don't have a good way of projecting whether temperatures will stay that far above normal.

For those of you a little farther south, the Fayetteville airport has also reached 100 or better for 5 straight days. While records for the airport are not readily available going way back, another climate reporting station for Fayetteville with records stretching much farther back shows a maximum stretch of 8 consecutive days that hot in July 1940, with several stretches of 6 days in a row reported through the years.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • sillywabbitthepatriot Jul 26, 2011

    But the only records that seem to count are those that affect the RDU area. The rest of the state never seems to be as important.

  • Mike Moss Jul 26, 2011

    dmccall, I guess you're right about the good stories part, but I'm still pretty happy that we correctly forecast the high of 97 yesterday!

    As for the stats you're asking about, yesterday was the 49th day so far this year that we've reached 90 or higher. Our average temperature from Jan 1 through Jul 25 for this year is 61.5 degrees, which is third warmest for the same period out of 67 years of data at RDU. Number 1 was 62.0 in 1990, followed by 1991 with 61.7 degrees.

  • dmccall Jul 25, 2011

    Well, if we are going to be in the upper 90's, we may as well go for 100 just to have a better story with which to annoy our grandchildren down the road. Right?

    What is the current tally on 90-degree days? How are we doing thus far on "average temperature" this calendar year?

  • Made In USA Jul 25, 2011

    Hey, this is what I call good SERVICE! lol THANKS!!

  • Mike Moss Jul 25, 2011

    Made in USA, There is indeed. Just go to www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/Southeast.shtml, where you'll find a clickable map for current/recent observations from buoys near the southeast coast. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for any buoy, and there will be a link to "historical and climatological info," where you can retrieve past observations and charts of the monthly mean and standard deviations. A spot check of a couple of those graphs shows that temps at this time area perhaps a degree or two above the mean, but well within the observed range of past values for late July into August. Of course, some of the buoys are relatively new and have fairly short periods of record.

  • Made In USA Jul 25, 2011

    Well written...

    Is there a website on the internet that has the ocean surface temperature history of those buoys on your hurricane tracking map? I'm wondering if this hot summer has fueled a little higher reading on them than the average.