October 10, 2019
With the recent record-breaking heat, Climate Central takes a look at record high temperatures compared to record low temperatures across the United States.
The first week of October, cities from New Orleans, to Washington, D.C. were setting new high temperature records for the month, just days after places in Montana and Wyoming experienced record amounts of snowfall. School was canceled in Columbus, Ohio, as many buildings lacked the air conditioning needed to give students a break from the extremely high heat and humidity. The astounding wave of extreme heat is not only above normal, but has been smashing long-held records. September was the 2nd hottest September on record for the U.S., and the first week of October continued that warming trend, with dozens of monthly October high temperature records shattered by several degrees.
There have always been swings between hot and cold weather. In a stable climate, these rounds of hot and cold would balance out over time. However, that is not happening, due to the warming from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas pollutants. The warming has led tomore extreme hot temperatures and milder minimum temperatures, so that record high temperatures are now outpacing record lows.
To illustrate this, Climate Central expanded our August analysis of local daily temperature records to the national level. The temperature records are presented as the percentage of record hot temperatures compared to the percentage of record cold in each decade.
Some noteworthy records across the U.S. this year:
Extreme heat is the deadliest form of extreme weather in the United States, outpacing flooding and causing more deaths than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Extreme heat is especially risky for vulnerable communities and relatively cooler climates, where risk perception and preparedness is generally lower. It also compounds the impacts of rainfall shortages—leading to flash drought in much of the Southeast and exacerbating the risk of wildfires.
METHODOLOGY: US records are based on data compiled from NOAA/NCEI by former Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton, who maintains a comprehensive records database, analyzing monthly, annual, and decadal records trends.
Source: Climate Central
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