BY JOHN FELDT
BLUE WATER OUTLOOK
U.S. Summer Was Warmer and Wetter Than Average Unusually Cool Summer – U.S. Corn Belt
Driven by record warmth in the West, the national average summer (June – August) temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 72.7°F, 1.3°F above average and the 15th warmest summer in the 123-year period of record. The season’s precipitation average of 9.19 inches was 0.87 inch above average and the 16th wettest summer on record.
Although the August temperature was categorized as near-average nationally, there were stark regional differences. The western U.S. was very warm, while the central U.S. was quite cool.
California, Oregon, and Washington each had their warmest August on record. The California statewide average temperature of 77.8°F tied with 1967 and 2012 at 4.1°F above average. Oregon’s average temperature was 69.8°F, 5.9°F above average. Washington’s was 68.7°F, 5.2°F above average.
Average temperatures in parts of the High Plains and Midwest were much below average for August, owing especially to much cooler than average afternoons in the region. Missouri had its seventh coolest August on record with an average temperature of 72.0°F, 4.0°F below average. It was the eighth coolest in Iowa and Kansas, the ninth coolest in Oklahoma, and the 10th coolest in Illinois and Nebraska.
Texas was record wet, mostly due to powerful and slow-moving Hurricane Harvey and its remnants. Precipitation across the state averaged 6.57 inches, 4.26 inches above average. Louisiana averaged 12.64 inches, 8.0 inches above average, resulting in its second wettest August, 0.38 inch shy of the record set just in 2016, which also saw widespread very heavy rainfall and flooding.
Locally in areas of Texas and Louisiana, precipitation amounts were historic due to Hurricane Harvey. At least 22 stations reported more than 500 percent of normal, or five times their normal rainfall for August. Monthly totals in excess of 40 inches were recorded by long-time NOAA observers in Lumberton, Beaumont, and at the Houston National Weather Service office.