Summer 2016 Recap
One thing is for sure. The summer of 2016 will be remembered for its heat and dry weather! Not only did nearly ever major airport along the I - 95 corridor rank the past three months within the top 10 hottest summers of all - time, but many ended with precipitation deficits. In fact, by the end of the season, the U.S Drought Monitor placed parts of eastern New England in an extreme drought! When did those scorching temperatures occur and when were the longest dry spells? Read on as we take a trip down memory lane of summer 2016.
We started off the summer rather normal in June as the month finished with near normal temperatures and a bit on the dry side despite a few severe weather events; however, things heated up quickly in July and August. The first 90 degree day of the season took place just after Independence Day and it certainly wasn't the last. During the month, the mercury levels reached and even surpassed 90 between 12 and 16 times. The Nation's Capitol took top honors rising into the 90s on 23 days! The most notable heat wave occurred between July 21st and 28th when consecutive days hit 90 or higher. Washington D.C even reached the century mark on the 25th, the first time since 2012. Rainfall wise, the month included typical hit and miss storms but the most memorable event goes to July 30 - 31. During this period, a widespread soaking rain overspread the Northeast, alleviating the growing drought in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It also included slow moving thunderstorms, some of which became stationary and produced very high rainfall rates. Those in Central New Jersey, especially near Princeton and Flemington, won't soon forget the 5 - 8 inches of rain that fell in just a few hours producing major flash and even river flooding. Ellicott City, MD took the brunt of the rainfall with historic and devastating flooding hitting its downtown area. For more information, see our article. While the event left many from New York to D.C. with a rainfall surplus of 2 to 5 inches for the month and became the wettest month of the summer by a large margin, the heaviest rain missed New England, only adding to the ongoing dryness. With under an inch of rain for the month in Boston, MA and a dry spring and winter, there were serious drought concerns.
August was another hot one for the Northeast with less in the way of rainfall. Those working outdoors were hit with yet another heat wave between August 11th and 17th which featured consecutive days with temperatures well above 90. Washington D.C. again made the record books as it hit 100 degrees three days in a row, the first time since 2012. Not only was it hot during the working hours, but the overnight period did little to help as 5 - 10 nights this August failed to fall below 75 degrees! Unlike July, no significant or widespread rainfall events took place in August, leaving many with less than 2 inches and deficits ranging between 1 to 3 inches. Such a dry pattern increased the needs for irrigation as grasses and shrubs suffered. Due to record low rainfall in New England, the U.S. Drought Monitor placed eastern Massachusetts in an extreme drought.
For the Northeast, the summer of 2016 definitely was a hot one. Many of the major airports ranked the summer among the top ten hottest of all - time with Philadelphia, PA and Hartford, CT ranking second hottest. The heat in August definitely did not go unnoticed in Atlantic City, NJ and Washington D.C as both sites recorded the hottest August of all - time. In fact, the monthly average temperatures in August were as high as July if not hotter! Precipitation records fell this summer as well. Given the persistent dry conditions in New England, it's no surprise Boston, MA finished with its driest summer in 80 years of record keeping. In fact, if it weren't for the heavy rainfall event in late July, drought conditions likely would have been more widespread and further south due to the summer's overall dry pattern. To learn more about how temperatures and precipitation for the summer as a whole rank, see the charts below.