Get ready to retire the white wardrobes, cover the grill and shutter the lake house. Labor Day Weekend marks the psychological – and meteorological – end of summer. While you're enjoying one last cold one this weekend or snapping photos on the beach, take a look at how the summer's average temperatures stacked up for a number of cities across the U.S.
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Was it hotter than average? Colder? About in the middle? The answer is . . . yes, depending on where you live. However, even with rounds of record cold air this summer, none of the cities we analyzed is close to setting a record low for the entire season. Meanwhile, there are some cities across the West that are sizzling through one of their hottest summers on record.
It’s a good reminder that in a world that’s warming overall under a growing blanket of greenhouse-gas pollution, each year won’t necessarily be warmer than the year before in every region. It’s only over time that the warming trend is obvious.
Across the West and Southwest, most cities were baking this summer. As of Aug. 24, the most recent data available, Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and Fresno, Calif., are all on track for one of their hottest summers ever recorded. On the whole, California has had the hottest start to the year ever recorded.
In contrast, cooler weather has dominated parts of the Midwest this summer. Moline, Ill., Milwaukee, and Cincinnati are wrapping up unusually cool summers. However, Chicago and Detroit are below average but not by that much and Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn., are above average.
The Southeast also experienced a range of temperature outcomes. This summer has been well below average in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., as the weather pattern kept a stream of cool air coming their way. However, Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., were neither especially hot nor cold, while temperatures start jumping up when you get to the other side of the Appalachians. Both Charleston and Columbia, S.C., are at the high end of summer temperature rankings.
There were a lot of people in the Northeast who thought this was such a cool summer. And in Baltimore, temperatures were well below average. But that was the exception for big Northeast cities. Richmond, Va., Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston all came in warmer than average while New York City was close to average. Those areas, as well as the Southeast, are going to get one last blast of heat this weekend.
And if you find yourself missing peak heat, you can always head west. Like way west to coastal areas in California, Oregon and Washington, where the hottest temperatures of the year usually arrive in September.
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This article is reproduced with permission from Climate Central. The article was first published on August 29, 2014.