The first day of Fall is this Saturday and many are excited for cooler temperatures after what was a very hot summer. But how hot was it and how does it compare to summers of the past?
According to NASA, summer 2023 was the hottest on record for the earth. Their data shows that the months of June, July, and August combined were 0.41° warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record and 2.1° warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980.
Here in Arkansas, it was hot but not the hottest on record. This meteorological summer ended as the 9th hottest since 1880 when records began. For this summer recap, I am going to use meteorological summer (June 1st – August 31st) because the first and last day of astronomical summer is not always the same date.
The average summer temperature in Little Rock is 81.6°. This takes into account both the low and the high temperatures. This summer the average temperature was 83.3°, which is 1.7° warmer than normal.
The hottest summer on record was back in 2010 when the average temperature was 85.8°!
Last summer was also a hot one. Summer 2022 had an average temperature of 83.2° which is only 0.1° cooler than this summer. Last summer also featured more days in the triple digits. We had 18 100° days and this year we had 15. The average number of days in the triple digits is 9 for Little Rock.
Even though we had fewer days in the triple digits, we did have a hotter maximum temperature. On August 26th we hit 107° which was the hottest temperature since 2012 when we hit 111°.
You might be thinking this summer was both hot and dry, but we actually saw near-average rainfall in central Arkansas. Little Rock got 10.01″ and the average rainfall during the summer is 10.03″. Last summer was much drier with only 8.84″.
The wettest day this summer was June 10th when we saw 1.45″ of rain. The wettest summer day on record was back in 1879 when Little Rock recorded 7.40″ of rain!
Let’s not forget about this past June when we saw several rounds of massive hail and tornadoes. Places across Arkansas saw hail the size of softballs and 6 tornadoes touched down! 6 tornadoes might not seem like much, but Arkansas only sees 1 tornado in June on average.
Overall, this summer was much warmer than normal with normal precipitation and a wild June!