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Heat getting close to scorching some records!

The sizzling summer of 2011 continues... and looking at the numbers, it's starting to challenge some of the record books! This past week and weekend was just our latest heat wave, with more highs in the upper 90's and low 100's across the Cape Fear area. Typically, 100 degrees is a very tough reading to get in Wilmington - with most years seeing just 1, or zero 100 degree days.

Sunday marked the 6th 100 degree day of the season - so far! With that, we've soared into second place in Wilmington history for most 100 degree days in a year.  The record stands at 7, back in 1952 - which is certainly within reach at the rate that we are going in this brutal summer.

But looking at the actual numbers also reveals something interesting about this summer. Even though the heat has been relentless, it hasn't been as above average as you might think!

Here are the stats for Summer 2011 so far. Keep in mind the average temperature is looking at all the temperature readings for the month (lows and highs) and averaging them, so a muggy night counts just as much as a hot afternoon.

Average temperature:81.1°82.3°
Departure from normal:+4.1°+1.2°
Overall average:81.70°

We've been hot certainly, especially in June. But July hasn't been as much of a slam dunk as you would have thought given our multiple days in the high 90's and low 100's. The thing is, our "cool stretch" over a week ago with highs in the mid 80's and lows in the mid 60's, really brought down our average temperature a lot.

You might remember that 2010 ended up as the warmest summer on record at ILM. Looking at the data from last year, it's strikingly close to our summer so far.

Average temperature:82.2°81.7°81.4°
Departure from normal:+5.2+0.6°+1.7°
Overall Average:81.77°

Believe it or not, so far we're lagging behind the pace of the summer of 2010. Even though we never saw a temperature higher than 98 last year, we consistently had hot afternoons and warm nights without any real "cool spell". So far, that one break in the heat that we saw over a week ago is keeping 2011 behind 2010's record setting pace.

Of course it's only July 25th. We still have to round out this month, and then all of August before we'll see if we can earn another "Warmest Summer on Record" award.

Stay cool out there!

- TB                                 





By: Tim Buckley


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