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Warmest Summer on Record for some U.S. Northwest Cities

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:08 PM GMT on September 02, 2014

Warmest Summer on Record for some U.S. Northwest Cities

While much, if not most, of the contiguous U.S. had a cooler than normal summer, the Pacific Northwest endured one of its hottest such on record. Here are a few details.

Temperature anomalies for the climatological summer of 2014. The top map shows the average daily maximum departure from normal, the middle map the minimum such, and the bottom map the overall departure from normal. As is apparent, it was the minimum temperature anomalies in the Pacific Northwest that contributed most to the record warmth in the region. There were few days of record-breaking maximum temperatures observed at any location. NCDC information, maps provided by Stu Ostro at TWC.

For the climatological summer of 2014 (June-July-August) it was the warmest on record for Medford, Roseburg, and Salem in Oregon, as well as Mt. Shasta City in California:

Here is a list of the site’s record average temperatures set this past summer and their respective previous warmest summers (June-August):

Medford, OR: 74.9° (old record 73.9° in 1967)

Roseburg, OR: 71.7° (old record 69.1° in 1958)

Salem, OR: 69.4° (old record 68.8° in 1958)

Mt. Shasta City, CA: 69.3° (old record 68.4° in 1960)

For Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon it was the warmest July-August period ever observed with Seattle averaging 69.2° for the two-month period (old record 68.8° in 1967) and Portland 72.5° (old record in 1985). Curiously, Seattle had its 3rd warmest July-August period just last summer (2013) with a 68.7° two-month average.

Spokane, Washington also experienced its warmest July-August on record, along with several other towns in the ‘Inland Empire’ region.

Table from NWS-Spokane

In Washington State the warm and dry summer has resulted in its largest wild fire on record as I blogged about on August 12th. There have also been several large dust storms, including one on August 30th that caused a massive 50-vehicle pileup on I-82 near Kennewick in the southeastern part of Washington. Nine people were hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries.

A dust storm closes in on a farm in eastern Washington on August 13th. One does not normally associate such events with the state’s climate. Photographer not identified/AP photo.

While on the topic of summer warmth, the temperature peaked at 104° at Amarillo, Texas on August 31st, the warmest temperature for the entire summer and the latest in the summer such a temperature has ever been observed at the site (POR began in 1892): surpassing by 13 days the former latest-104° reading set on August 18, 1994 (the warmest September temperature ever recorded in Amarillo is 103° on September 5, 1995). Aside from this, temperature-wise it has been a fairly normal summer in the city with an average of 77.0°, 1.5° above average.

In spite of the hot summer in the Northwest, most people in the U.S. will remember this past summer for its lack of any extreme heat. Although I am not aware of any sites recording their coolest summer on record there have been many notable cool waves, especially in July, and some cities (Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo) have yet to see a single 90°+ reading. Chicago has enjoyed only three such days so far, compared to the average of 17 by this time of the year. Linda Lam of The Weather Channel has this great compilation of some of this past summer’s temperature and precipitation highlights.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Heat Cold

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.