2022 was 3rd hottest summer in US

Orange sun umbrella blocks out part of sunny sky.
The United States had its 3rd hottest summer on record in 2022. Image via Peter Fazekas/ Pexels.
White-hot sun in golden sky with clouds below.
The United States had its 3rd hottest summer on record in 2022. Image via Pixabay/ Pexels.

3rd hottest summer in US

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on September 9, 2022, that the United States sweltered through their 3rd hottest summer on record in 2022. The average temperature in the contiguous United States this summer was 73.9 F (23.2 C), which is 2.5 degrees above average. The hottest U.S. summer on record for the past 128 years happened last year, 2021, when the average temperature was 74 F (23.3 C). The 2nd hottest was during the Dust Bowl, back in 1936.

NOAA made the measurement for meteorological summer, which runs from June 1 to August 31.

Across the country, 26 cities recorded their all-time hottest summers in 2022, according to Fox Weather, including Tampa, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Across the globe, June and July were both the 6th hottest on Earth in the 143-year global climate record from NOAA. August 2022 tied with 2017 and 2021 as Earth’s 3rd warmest August, according to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., August 2022 ranked as 8th warmest.

Rain and Flooding

Overall the precipitation in the contiguous United States was a 0.14 of an inch below average for the summer. But the rains didn’t fall equally across the nation. Flooding hit some areas especially hard, including Death Valley, Yellowstone, Kentucky, St. Louis, Illinois, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Mississippi, among others. NOAA reported:

Several extreme 1,000-year flooding events occurred across the U.S. in August. On August 2, parts of southern Illinois were drenched by 8–12 inches of rain in a 12-hour period. An area south of Newton, Illinois, recorded 14 inches of rainfall over the same period. On August 5, Death Valley National Park received 1.70 inches of rain, an all-time 24-hour rainfall record for the area, resulting in substantial flooding and damage to roads and vehicles, temporarily stranding park visitors and staff overnight. On August 22, some parts of Dallas, Texas, saw more than 13 inches of rainfall within 12 hours. Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster for 23 Texas counties, including Dallas, after storms caused damage and devastating flash flooding.

Hottest summer: Brown landscape with broken road and wet, sandy ground under gray clouds.
Mud Canyon Road in Death Valley National Park sustained serious damage after floods in early August 2022. On August 5, 2022, the park received 1.70 inches of rain, which is an all-time 24-hour rainfall record for the area. Image via NOAA/ NPS.

Warmer temperatures

Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist living in Alaska, shared this map showing how much warming different regions of the country have experienced over the past 50 years. From the Rocky Mountains westward, the U.S. has experienced the highest degree of warming. Much of this region also suffers from drought, which you can see from the maps at the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Bottom line: The United States just had its 3rd hottest summer on record. From June 1 to August 31, 2022, temperatures averaged 73.9 F (23.2 C).


September 11, 2022

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