With the arrival of fall, now is a great time to look back on the summer, and how it stacked up to previous years. Meteorological summer is defined as May 1st through August 31st. Data of temperature and precipitation were collected by NOAA, and the results are fairly surprising.
While the U.S. saw its 15th warmest summer since records began in 1895, the midwest experienced slightly cooler than average conditions. A similar trend was found in a majority of the south. Much of this was due to much cooler temperatures across a majority of the Eastern U.S during the month of August, A few regions even saw their coldest August on record. So how did we end up so warm overall? The answer lies out west. States such as California, Nevada, and Oregon saw large areas of record warmth. Coastal regions along the east coast also saw temperatures warmer than average.
Year-to-date (January to August) the U.S. has been its 3rd warmest, fueled by an extremely warm winter to begin the year. Southern states such as Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Texas saw large regions of temperatures being the warmest on record. No state has seen below average temperatures so far when averaging across all of 2017.
Rain and snowfall totals contribute to the total precipitation, and was also compiled by NOAA. In general, the further north you go, the drier conditions become. The Midwest saw fairly wet conditions, with totals slightly above average, and a few small regions below average. Montana has seen its driest summer, with dry conditions spreading across the state, the Dakotas, and even parts of the pacific northwest. On the other hand, Harvey dumped unprecedented rainfall across eastern Texas and into Louisiana, which easily passed as the wettest summer on record for those regions.
The year to date totals show a slightly wetter trend overall, with all of the Great Lakes region receiving above average precipitation. Even northern California has been well above average, also due to an extremely wet winter.