New summer record in reach - again

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Mike Moss

With two afternoons remaining in the "meteorological summer" of 2010, it appears we're a lock to set a record at the Raleigh-Durham airport for the hottest summer there yet, based on records beginning in 1944. As I write this on the morning of August 30th, we're expecting highs of 94 and 97 to finish off the month. Through August 29th our average high for the summer has been 92.0 degrees, and we should end up either there or maybe 92.1 for the summer as a whole. In terms of high temperatures, that would exceed the previous record year of 2007 by almost a degree.

The same ranking holds if we use the more common comparison of mean daily temperature (which accounts for both the low and high for each day), with this summer likely ending up at 81.7 or 81.8 degrees, while 2007 measured 79.8. Of course, if you've seen Greg's reports in the evening or the special sidebar feature on our main weather page, we're also in a "race" with 2007 for the most days reaching or exceeding 90 degrees in a year. In this case, we're not restricting the time frame involved to the June-August period, so we'll probably have to wait until mid-October or so to see how the two years will stack up in that regard. So far, the latest date that we've seen 90+ at RDU is October 9th.

A couple of added points of interest on all this - first, we also take a look sometimes at data from another cooperative observation site that has been around a lot longer than RDU, but there is a delay in the data being available for full analysis. For that site, with data back to 1892, 2007 was second to 1952 for the top year on the hot list (1952 is number 6 on the RDU list), and while the results aren't in just yet, it seems likely to set a new record for this summer too. Second, for RDU the top five hottest summers have all occurred since 2005, while for the other site, three of the top five are from the late "20-oughts," while 1952 and a hot season from 1900 will remain in the top five there.

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