When Is Your Summer Heat Going to Hit?

January 29, 2016
Lightning and Cactus

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It’s the middle of summer. Are you hot yet?  NOAA has released a map showing when you can normally expect the hottest day of the year.

For some people, it arrived in June or early July and cooler days lie ahead. If you live in most of the West or the Southern Plains, it will hit you in the next few weeks. And, if you are on the West Coast, you will have to wait a couple of months.

Summer heat peaks in different times of the year. Source NOAA. See enlarged map here.

The longest day of the year is usually around June 20 to 21. Typically, the long sunny days bake the land and, for most of the Northern Hemisphere, land temperatures peak sometime in July. Most of the US, from the Rockies to the East Coast follows that pattern. But notice that some areas are really different.

The Desert Southwest usually peaks in June. Then the welcome monsoon rains arrive in July and sheltering clouds cool the landscape.

Monsoon rains cool Southwestern summers through July and August. Source: Wikipedia

While northern lands usually reach their peak temperatures in July, oceans continue to warm until September. Warm wet Gulf air continues to warm Texas, Louisiana and Florida through August.

Then there is California. The currents along the West Coast flow from Alaska. When the chill Pacific air hits the warm land, it creates cooling fog. Summertime can be quite chill. As a famous quote falsely attributed to Mark Twain goes, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It isn’t until September, when northern oceans reach their peak, that most of the West Coast finally warms up.

The cool Pacific current off the West Coast creates a chilling fog for most of the summer. Source: NOAA

Of course, this is a very crazy year. Have you had a heat wave yet or is spring's cool weather lingering into your July? Share it with us here!


About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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Have lived in Florida for 42

Have lived in Florida for 42 years. This year has been typical for heat, but not for rain. Only 2 inches in July and although almost 7 inches was officially reported for June - not at my house!! My gardens are really drooping. I can't wait for cooler weather.

When I was a kid in the 50's

When I was a kid in the 50's and 60's, I wore short sleeves from Valentines Day until Halloween in Houston. Summer had brief showers and the raindrops were warm. Warm summer rain ended in the 90's. Then cool days extended from Valentines Day. By the 00's, warm days started in April, then May. This year, June was the end of spring. Only July was hot. And cool temps begin in Sep, not Nov, like my childhood. And spring has many non-humid days. Houston weather is getting better! (Couldn't get much worse!)

As a Southern California

As a Southern California native living in Virginia for the past 20 years (as of August 23rd), I have had to get used to "yucky" humid weather and nights that don't cool off because there is no such thing as an "offshore flow.." But, the upside is that we have 4 real seasons here, even if recently Spring tends to be too short, as it often seems to go from Winter into Summer with hardly a pause. From the map it appears that our hottest day traditionally has been in mid-July, so the worst, I hope, is over. In July of this year, I ran the a/c non-stop for over two weeks -- the electric bill was huge! Can hardly wait until fall.

Weather in Jonesboro,

Weather in Jonesboro, arkansas has been more spring-like than summer...we'll see what August brings

I live in Central California

I live in Central California and the peak of the hottest period is therefore in late July. So now it is the hottest period of the year. I don't really complain about the weather; I'm open to love anything or almost anything. Summer and fall are both tied for my favorite seasons, but I don't have a favorite weather type. Anyway, I still don't want summer to end. I still am happy that it's summer!


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