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"It was SO hot!".... ("How hot was it?")

Looking back at this summer, it was definitely a hot one across the Cape Fear region. But would you believe it was the warmest on record in Wilmington? Believe it! The numbers are in, and they're impressive.

Now if you're saying -- wait a second Tim, summer isn't over just yet. You're right. We still have a few weeks to go until the Fall Equinox. However, meteorologists have their own way of keeping records. We break the calendar down into 3 month seasons for record keeping purposes. 'Meteorological summer' includes June / July / August. Not only is this easier to keep track of, but this period aligns the season more to the actual weather patterns.

Now onto the numbers...

Looking back at the average high, average low, and overall temperature for June-July-August, you can see that we were nothing if not consistent. There was very little variation in the overall pattern, leading to most days seeing highs in the low 90's with evening lows in the mid 70's. In other words, not too many extremes. A few days in the high 90's, but not many, and no 100 degree days. Instead, just consistently hot with very muggy nights. This was due mainly to a consistent Bermuda High offshore that allowed a steady southerly warm and humid flow across the area.

Once you add up all the highs and lows for all the months and spit out the average temperature for the entire season, we get a whopping 81.8°. That's enough to make it the warmest ever here in the city of Wilmington! That goes back through 137 years of record. The previous record was back in 1999 when the average temperature was an even 81 degrees. Not only did we just break the record - we eclipsed it by almost a full degree! 

But there were more firsts to be had in the Port City this year. During the three month period we saw 57 90 degree days, enough to break the previous record of 56 days in 1993. Also, there were many firsts from a consistency standpoint. This was the first time each month had an average high over 90 degrees. It was also the first time each month had an average low above 72 degrees. Finally, it was the first summer to see each month average over 81 degrees.

So what do you think? Did you think the summer stacked up as one of the hottest ever here in Southeastern North Carolina. Personally, the numbers kind of caught me by surprise. I think that has to do partly with the fact that we didn't see a lot of record breaking heat along the way; just consistently hot. Also, it being only my 2nd summer in the area I don't have much to compare it to!


Back to the current weather out there, we did find a way to squeeze out a record high yesterday. The high of 94 tied a record initially set back in 1978 in Wilmington. The heat and humidity is coming down though today. Dewpoints will plummet into the 50s across the area this afternoon - making for what looks to be a cool, refreshing evening. Don't be shocked to see lows in the upper 50's in some spots tonight and tomorrow night.

It's funny how things work. No more than an hour after writing my entry on how the tropics were poised for a string of 3 to 4 storms over the next few weeks we were greeted by Tropical Storm Igor. I can't resist the Young Frankenstein jokes on this one. Perhaps I can start a movement and get meteorologists everywhere to call it Eye-gor! Maybe not.

That's all for now. Enjoy the sunshine and warmth out there today.

"Could be worse -- could be raining!"

- TB



By: Tim Buckley